In the Cygnet Classroom

Term 1 - Week 2 and 3 

Another busy couple of weeks in the Cygnet Classroom. The children are now in good routines and are working extremely hard at all of the activities that are being offered to them. 

We have been reading Frederick the Fox in preparation for the Burford Literature Festival. We are delighted that the whole school will be attending this year and the children are excited to meet illustrator Lisa Read and do some Foxy activities. 

We have also been continuing our writing unit based on Judith Kerr's, The Tiger Who Came to Tea.  We have roleplayed, made masks and dreamed up our own stories based on this wonderful text. We have stories such as, The Swan who came for a swim, the dinosaur who came for dinner and the fox who came to Faringdon. The children have acted out their stories, talked them through with peers and teachers, planned them and will be putting them into books alongside illustrations on Friday. 

We have had a great start to RWI Phonics this term. The children are enjoying their daily sessions and are building knowledge, fluency and expression. Please continue to read with them at home daily and number their reads so that they can achieve a bronze, silver or gold star. 

We are reading a range of books from our reading spine that is available to the children in our class library. The children are now starting to revisit some of these high quality texts and share them with friends. Please note all children now have their Accelerated Reader logins in their reading record books. They can now access the site at home. Please note the updated URL address from last year. Any problems, please let me know. 

In topic the children have been thinking about the Celts.  They started out by thinking about how we know about this time in history, and how archaeologists find evidence.  The children have then thought about Celtic clothes.  The children have set up their own natural dyes and practiced weaving.  The children also had wool which they are combing and spinning.  Next week they are going to be weaving on looms.

We are looking forward to our end of term whole class forest school Celtic day where we will dress up as Celts (a scarf, cloak is perfect - don't buy or stress). 

In Computing, we read and discussed a wonderful story about Digiduck who needed reminding on how to behave online. We have been exploring how to keep ourselves safe online whilst being kind and respectful to others. The children have learned that if they come across anything they do not understand or unsure about to tell a grown up immediately. They have also been reminded to be kind online just how we would do face to face. 

In RE, we continue the Creation story and we discussed how Christians believe that the world was created by God. We talked about Sundays and going to church and we also discussed what we like to do to take some time out and reflect. 

Our new handwriting initiative is going really well. Well done to everyone who has logged on at home and using it. We can see that handwriting is already improving. 

In Science have been thinking about our body.  The children started by looking at baby photos and tried to guess who was who!  They then had to think about the similarities and differences between themselves then and now.

This week the children had an experiment to do.  Do people with bigger feet need longer gloves. They had to predict their answer.  They all made hand and foot prints, then measure their hands and feet with cubes.  They recorded their results and concluded that if you have big feet you do not need longer gloves.


Forest School has been a big hit and the children are really enjoying exploring the outdoors and making houses for animals. We have had lots of outdoor play, PE we are focusing on games and how to intercept and move around safely in a space. We have had rice, gloop and shaving foam writing alongside lots of painting, constructing and getting a little messy. 

Well done to all of the children in Cygnets, another wonderful couple of weeks. 

Forest School 

Making habitats for animals

Keeping Safe online with Digiduck

Term 1 Week 1

Well, what a fantastic first week back for the Cygnets. The oohs and the ahhs at how different and tidy the classroom is was enough to give us the positive start we needed! 

Each child has grown significantly, both physically and developmentally. They have risen to many a challenge in this short week, and have taken on their new year groups with the best 'can do' attitude and resilience that we could have hoped for. Each child has fallen back into the routine of the school day and despite very high temperatures have given their all in every lesson. 

We have been absolutely delighted to welcome Remy and Esme, our new Reception children to Southrop and they have fitted in beautifully to the Cygnet class. We are so proud of how the Year 1 and 2 children have welcomed them, showing kindness and care to each of them.

We are also delighted to have Mrs Martyn back with the Cygnets, inspiring children and helping them achieve their very best, along with Mrs Brown, Mrs Harz and Mrs Holloway to aid support and work alongside our class. Their positivity and contribution to the children has been huge and they have worked hard together to come up with wonderful ideas and resources to improve the learning environment. 

In English, we are working hard to write lists and plan tea parties with some wonderful guests and party ideas. The story, "The Tiger Who Came to Tea" by the renowned Judith Kerr has gone down a treat and the children are retelling it beautifully, coming up with some wonderful ideas of their own.

In Maths, they have worked hard to count numbers to 20 and explore two-digit numbers. We have used number blocks, base ten and lots of counting apparatus to secure our numbers. 

We have started a new handwriting scheme called Letterjoin, there are details in the children's reading folders to access from home. We have loved improving our gross motor skills and fine motor skills this week.

In RE, we are exploring the concept of what Christians believe,  reading the Creation Story and discussing  how the world may have been created. 

In Computing, we read about Smartie the penguin and all the obstacles he faced online, however we now know if we have a problem online we seek help from a grown up. 

We have been very excited about our Celtic topic called Brave. We watched the trailer of Brave and noticed some Celtic dress and different living conditions to ours. Existing  knowledge has been recorded and ideas collected about what the children would like to find out.  

Please continue to read daily and enjoy a bedtime story each evening. We look forward to a wonderful year and thank you all at home for your fabulous support.

Headteachers for the Day, Eva-Mae and Rupert.

Well done Cygnets, a fab Sports' Day!

Our Termly Library Visits!

Cygnet Newsletter 2022-2023

Cygnet Final Update - Term 6, weeks 6 & 7

The final two weeks have been busy, busy, full of exciting events from Move up Morning, welcoming our wonderful new Reception children, Whole School Write where we made miniature books, we were inspired by the wonderful British Library and cooked up our own Fairy Tales. We also had Sports Day thrown in and a morning based around staying safe on our summer holidays. On Wednesday Mr Smith, a.k.a Rupert Smith, took charge as Co-Head Teacher alongside Ms Cruz a.k.a. Eva-Mae Cruz. They did a superb job of running the school and participating in all of the usual Head Teacher roles and responsibilities.  Mr Smith was courteous, kind and interested in how his pupils were doing and even did a tea run close to the end of the day for all staff!! Well done Mr Smith on a superb job, you oozed confidence and even ran Worship beautifully alongside Ms Cruz this morning. 

The children played a blinder at Sports' day last week and all participated beautifully with big smiles on their faces. We are incredibly proud of each of them. 

In Maths, we have been consolidating our number work and enjoyed a morning at the Beach cafe ordering off our menu and paying for our meals using coins. The Year 2 children did a great job giving back the correct amount of change.

In English, we enjoyed 'Clean Up' by Nathan Byron and discussed all the ways we can ensure we look after our planet this summer, particularly if visiting the beach. We are looking our October visit to Cheltenham Literature Festival where years one and two will attend the Nathan Bryan workshop. 

We have been wrapping up the final parts of our RE, Topic and Computing lessons. The children have thoroughly enjoyed learning about the International Space Station in Computing and I am sure will be keen to learn more about it this Summer if time allows: 

Year 2 have enjoyed special reading time in the sunshine on a Thursday mornings reading their newspapers. We have also learned how to do crosswords (another brilliant summer task) and without even noticing,  they have answered high level questions, tackled difficult vocabulary and participated in discussions about a range of topics from Glastonbury, self-driving cars to Scottish independence. It may be worth looking at for some links to child-friendly news. CBBC Daily Newsround is also another great resource.

All of the children have worked their little socks off in Phonics this year, making the huge investment that we have put into our Read, Write Inc scheme feel worthwhile -  actually beyond worthwhile. I am sure you have noticed the progress your child has made this year. We are incredibly proud of each of them. Please continue to read for pleasure at home this summer, don't be fussy as to what they are reading, encourage it all! Whilst practising and continuing to read is important, bedtime stories are equally significant. Please ensure your little ones listen to stories read by you or others, as this will increase their vocabulary, imaginations  and, believe it or not, aid their writing. Audiobooks are another great way of enjoying stories and brilliant for those long journeys. I will send out any gaps your child may have with a link to a RWI video so your child can have a go at practicing over the Summer but please don't worry if you are having too much fun to do so, that is exactly what the holidays are for...

If time allows, do some writing...writing that has a real purpose is always the best. Ask your little ones for help with writing shopping lists, menus, holiday plans, cards, invitations, diaries, emails, letters or postcards to loved ones. Write in the sand, shaving foam, water on a paintbrush on the wall, chunky pens, chalks, markers or pencils or on a laptop, these brilliant movements will aid fine motor skills and improve presentation. 

But most importantly whatever you do or don't do, have fun, stay safe and enjoy the Summer holidays. 

We are so proud of each of you,

Mrs Tipple and Miss Davies xxx


… from the Nest

What a glorious medley of end of term treats!  I have been poised with a collection of delightful stories from clever John Burningham to continue the theme of trips, but instead of fictional adventures up the river and across muddy fields, our Reception lessons have been trumped by Eco Day, Move Up Morning, Whole School Write, Forest School and Sports Day.  Wow!!  But, at last, we did enjoy Mr Gumpy's Outing and joined each of the animals in his punt for a jaunt along the river.  Inevitable chaos erupted and "splosh" we were in!  Having swum to the shore and climbed the bank in the summer sun, we were treated to a splendid tea.  We all wrote beautifully illustrated thank you letters to kind Mr Gumpy for a super day and scrummy tea.   

To continue our understanding of spatial reasoning in Maths, the children further explored maps. They each drew a floor plan of My Classroom, noticing what was against the walls and what was where in the space, giving eloquent descriptions using positional language.  We are reviewing our learning this term and looked again at the composition of 5, singing Five Little Speckled Frogs and jumping them in and out of the water as well as pointing our five fingers up (on the log) and down (in the pool).  Quite a challenge in more ways than one!  We are also looking at teen numbers and noticing how they are a ten and a one, a two, a five... using Numicon. 

Reception embraced every aspect of the 'Whole School Write' and produced perfect booklets and fabulous fiction. 

 I was very proud of Reception at Sports Day.  It is great to see these little people giving their all on the track, unfazed by their older peers and unchartered territories.  They threw bean bags into hoops, did the long jump, sprint, relay race, skipping and egg and spoon.  It was very impressive.  Well done to you all. 

Forest School is always a treat. Sue, our leader, brought in her tools and our task was to find a stick as long as our arm and fat as our thumbs and to whittle the end to a point for toasted marshmallows.  What an incentive.  There was also a saw, manned by Mr Scrivener, for us to cut any sticks that were too long.  It was a careful joint action as we pushed and pulled the saw with Mr Scrivener at the other end.  As a finale, Sue laid out a long white cloth and we all gathered forest finds to make an image of Southrop School at Forest School '22-23.  We each made ourselves in twigs, bark, moss, and flowers and added some woodland and familiar sites.  Thank you, Sue.  We have had a fabulous time with you. 

The last few days area tired but terrific putting together and letting go.  We are movers and leavers, but we are a splendid team, very ready for Year 1 and beyond.  We have learnt more than we could have ever imagined and loved and laughed with it.  Happy days, Reception.  Thank you for a super year together, and I wish you all the very best always. 


Term 6 Week 4 & 5

Update from the Cygnets 

Well, what a great couple of weeks we have had. The last term of the year is all about fitting in all the added extra events. At Southrop, we ensure at least one trip a term in line with our topic and this busy term is no different. Last week we had the most glorious day at Pittville Park, Cheltenham, as part of our topic, Percy in Southrop. We spent time pre-trip preparing and following maps, looking at aerial views, learning about the history of Pittville Park, identifying and labelling features of this huge town park  and comparing it with our village park. I would love to say that the highlight of the day was the bird or tree spotting but I would be lying, rather it was popping by, 'The Boathouse' and using our £1 to purchase a large, yes large ice-cream cone (thank you Seán for your generosity). The children also loved trying out 'epic' playpark. As well as all this, they learned how to interact with large groups of people, cross roads and about water safety. They were wonderful Southrop ambassadors and we had numerous compliments from the public about their manners and etiquette. Thank you to Mr Scrivener for driving us the minibus and Mrs Barlow-Hall for driving some children and Mrs Gardener and Mrs Blackburn for ensuring our day went beautifully. 

Then Thursday brought another outing – a whole class Forest School at Macaroni Woods. We had the most amazing time with Sue, building huts for Percy, roleplaying Percy stories with animal masks, using natural resources to map out parks and all their features and playing in the woods. The benefits of forest school are outstanding and our children love being outdoors, free and playing.

This week, we have had our first move up day which was based around the wonderful Martin Waddell's book 'Owl Babies'. The children did some focused writing and counting, Reception made owl babies out of playdoh and then we all created pictures inspired by the story using collage techniques. In the afternoon we made our way to the field to enjoy the PTA Marathon Colour run. We managed seven marathons during the afternoon and were all sorts of colours by the end of the day. Well done to the PTA and to the children who worked so hard to arrange this a brilliant event. 

Well done children on another couple of brilliant weeks, we are so proud of the children you are.

… and the Nest

Reception have been so enjoying the term's topic of Percy the Park Keeper and Parks.  We followed on from Nick Butterworth's Springy Day to The Secret Path - a fun story about Percy and the animals and their adventures in the Park maze.  Who gets the better of the surprises?!  The children listened well and showed their understanding of the story by practising recounts.  They had a selection of illustrations from the book, chose four, put them in order, verbally recounted their story using First, Then, After and Last and then wrote the sentences. 


On Wednesday, it was our wonderful visit to Pittville Park.  We all had the best time.  The weather was perfect - dry but not hot - and we had hours of fun.  The list the children gave me afterwards included: "going on the minibus, visiting the bandstand, tree spotting, looking at the lake, seeing the ducks and gulls, a spouting whale - or was it a water fountain? - going under the road, lunch on the stones, ice creams at the boat house and lots of time at the most fabulous play park".  Seeing their energies, enthusiasm and learning in lovely Pittville Park was dreamy.  But, of course, back at school I wanted a recount of this fabulous day out.  The children used the format of four pictures and four sentences in order, making their own from the list we compiled.  Each one was a little different but all delightful and very well done.  It was a fabulous exercise which succinctly displayed all the Literacy skills they have learnt with me in Reception. I am tickled pink with their efforts and achievements.


The subject of mazes has been a great way to expand spatial reasoning in Maths. The children have followed their way in and out of mazes on paper sheets, challenging pencil control as well as spatial awareness. They are making Lego mazes for Percy and his friends to explore, not forgetting to trick them with some dead ends.  Also in Maths, we have been completing our Reception learning by consolidating our counting beyond 20 and looking at patterns within numbers to 10. Do involve your children in doubles and equal numbers as well as even and odd numbers - we also call them 'flat tops' or 'odd blocks'.  We have been sharing small random groups in pairs - how many in each pile?  Are both piles equal?  Are they a double?

Last week's Forest School included the Y2s and was a gorgeous morning of Percy in the woods. The children role-played the park keeper and his animals, including building him a hut. This week we continued the theme and made our own small world parks. We made boundaries with long sticks and collected twigs, stones and leaves to make wonderful park paraphernalia: slides and seesaws, trees and bushes, lakes and sandpits. Recollection and imagination were both in clear evidence. 

This week is jam-packed. Yesterday was Move Up Day and, wow, Reception fit the Year 1 seats so well!  Mrs Tipple planned a superb morning of Owl Babies and the group were very eager and very ready and showed excellent aptitudes and abilities. We had the amazing Marathon in the afternoon (so much to tell!) and it is Cookery Club tomorrow.  I know we will have a fabulous morning together and you should expect some scrummy treats for the weekend!

Term 6 Week 3

Cygnets are doing so well in the hot weather, maintaining wonderful focus and continuing their learning beautifully. Well done all!

The children are now into their third week of Percy the Park Keeper and friends' stories and writing. They have done several pieces of writing and are focusing on ensuring they use clear handwriting, basic punctuation and check back through their sentences for sense, ready to revise and improve. This week they are writing their own Percy adventure stories and have been keen each day to get going on the next instalment. 

In Maths, the Year 2 children have been learning about capacity, length and exploring temperatures and thermometers. We will be moving on to three digit numbers this week, ensuring full understanding of the value of each digit. We have also been working on making sure our number bonds to twenty are secure. Year 1 have been working on number bonds to eight, in Mastering Number, improving fluency doubling one digit numbers and exploring bigger numbers with concrete apparatus. 

In Geography, we continue our 'Percy in Southrop' topic. We explored the route to Southrop Village Park a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed a lovely play at the park. We noticed signs, landmarks, bus stops and things that we have not noticed previously. We added these landmarks to our own maps that we created and followed to the park. We have also looked in depth at Pittville Park, in preparation for our exciting visit next week. We touched on the history of parks and why they were built. We have DT, Art and lots more within topic to learn about in the next few weeks.

In Computing, we continue our Data unit. We have learned lots about the International Space Station and how computers aid their work. Many of the children now know the essentials needed for a trip to space and what the job entails. They will be collecting data, like real astronauts and researchers this week, and will be using Microsoft Excel sheets to collect their findings. 

In RE, we have been investigating feelings of belonging. We have talked about how religious people feel a sense of belonging when they are part of a faith community. Last week we enjoyed talking about Christians and explored churches, this week we heard about a little boy called Imran and how he belongs to the Islamic faith. We looked at Mosques and talked about different ways Muslims feel belonging and part of a Faith. 

We also enjoyed a lovely morning of gardening last Wednesday, led by the lovely Mrs Martyn. It was great to get outside and plant some seeds and vegetables. We also painted rocks, made Willow crowns flower perfume, potions and birdfeeders. 

Keep up the kindness and care to each other as we continue to keep our value of Friendship going. 

… and the Nest

Reception had a splendid week continuing Superheroes.  We called it "Let's Pretend" and designed our own superheroes.  First, in pairs, we drew around each other and then painted the life-sized outlines in fabulous costumes, totally appropriate for dare-devil do-gooders. Over the days, we chose names for our superheroes: Bloo Blakc Orinj; Spotflikr; Red Blac Sbidr and Silvrgrl, made them eye masks, badges and gizmos, and listed their superpowers: lasers, fur and webs, and supersnacks: potatoes, carrots and lots of fruit (a golden reflection on our lessons on healthy eating with Miss Davies).  We caught them in action with natty phrases in speech bubbles: "There is a baddie on the loose!" "Spidee is coming to get you!" "I will get you and you will pay."  The superheroes are proudly displayed on the wall in the Nest.  Please do come and meet our new friends.  The children would be thrilled to introduce you.

This week is very much more docile as we are enjoying the gorgeous stories of Percy the Park Keeper by Nick Butterworth, in anticipation of our visit to Pittville Park next week.  As well as looking at the role of Percy and what we find in a park, we are learning to recount the stories.  We are considering the beginnings, middles and endings and the importance of telling the adventures in order.  We are reading One Springy Day and The Secret Path and representing them as drawings and simple sentences so that we can successfully recall and recount the tales.  To support our learning, we are making a small world for Percy and his friends.  We have cut out a paper Percy and lots of animals and stuck them onto blocks to stand in our tuff tray park, which is lush with grass of green rice, Lego bases and astroturf squares.  There is a shed for the Park Keeper's paraphernalia - which gets very much into a mess and a muddle in the animals' adventures.

We have started to use rekenreks in Maths this term as they will be a key tool in our learning in Mastering Number in Year 1.  We are understanding how to prepare the rekenrek for use prior to moving the beads and how to efficiently slide the beads in one push with our pointy finger.  We are recognising the number of beads without counting, aware that there are five red and five white beads on the top row and the same on the bottom row.  It is a great alternative to our very useful five fingers on each hand and so a super opportunity to continue to embed number bonds to 5 and to 10.  This week we have used the beads on each row to compare quantities: more than, fewer than and equal.  We are also practising our counting beyond 20 with special attention to 30, 40 and 50. Please do show and ask the children to name random two figure numbers to strengthen their recognition: 28? 33? 45?

We have had just one Forest School outing and it was glorious.  The woods are both warm in dappled sunshine and cool in gentle shade.  They are full of new flora and fauna and the children were expert at noticing the differences from last time to this.  We were each given a magnifying glass and investigation chart to go bug hunting.  The children soon realised that the best finds were under logs and leaves and the site was upturned in excited searches.  There were squeals of delight and horror at spiders and slugs, creepy crawlies and sprinters and lots of learning in cautious turning and careful handling.  


Term 6 Week 1 

 A fabulous first week into Summer 2. The Cygnets have returned refreshed and ready to learn. In English, the children are enjoying learning about the author Nick Butterworth and his series of books based around Percy the Park Keeper. We are reading and listening to these stories daily. Each day has brought a different story and a different writing task which the children are really enjoying completing. Year Twos are stepping up their game by writing in paragraphs, joining their handwriting and remembering their basic punctuation. Year ones are working hard at punctuating sentences and using their phonics to help them spell words. Both are doing a great job.

In Topic, we are keeping to the Percy theme and will be learning all about Percy in Southrop. We will create maps and visit the Southrop park this week. This term's focus is Geography where using simple compass directions to describe locations of features and routes on a map will be important. We will also be comparing and contrasting our village park with a big city park in Cheltenham, a trip we look forward to at the end of the month. 

In Art, we will be discovering who David Hockney is and creating our own paintings and ipad art in Hockney style. Seasons and weather will feature heavily in our English and Topic lessons. Please discuss these at home and perhaps have a go at making some simple maps with basic keys. Looking at Google maps will also be helpful, showing your child where they live and helping them to remember their address.

We cannot wait to welcome in some prospective students next Wednesday at our Toddler event where we will be getting a bit mucky and doing some gardening along with a range of activities. Please spread the word.

In Maths, the Year 2 children have been learning about tally charts and pictograms. They are becoming confident finding out data and adding it to their own pictograms, this ties in nicely with our Computer unit on data handling. Year 1s continue to work on addition and are adding one digit numbers to ten. They are doing really well with this.

In Science we will be looking at all things plants and growing and in RE we will discuss further what it is to feel a part of a group or to belong to a group,  with the end result finding out from others what it feels like to be part of a faith community. 

We wish you a lovely weekend and look forward to seeing some of you at the Southrop Fete.


… and the Nest

It has been a full-on, busy week back in the sunshine for Reception.  They all seemed to have grown over half-term - in height and confidence and volume!  They eloquently related their holiday adventures and the contrast of these little people to their timid first-tellings in September is enormous.  Well done, lovelies.

We have dived into Superheroes and are having lots of fun both exploring the fantastical, fictional Marvel characters and understanding that there are real superheroes all around us too.  The children have used the Reading Level 1 books to source information on the features and peculiarities of the different superheroes and are practising their writing skills in relaying the facts in simple short sentences.  They can all give lists of superhero attire and gadgets and are drawing, modelling and inventing intrepid superheroes of their own.

In Maths, we are refining our understanding of number.  We are counting by looking at number tracks and ordinality and considering 'more than' and 'fewer than'.  We have ensured that the sequence of numbers is correct by placing and explaining where each of the numbers should stand in relation to the others and are enjoying playing dice games on enlarged number tracks using dice showing just 1s and 2s.  We are also looking at spatial reasoning and replicating models, real places and places in stories using inside and outside spaces and props.  

Term 5 Week 4 and 5 - 2022/2023

Another super couple of weeks in the Cygnets. We returned after another bank holiday to designing, creating and making knickers for His Majesty the King and Queen Camilla. We carefully researched their interests and what sort of emblems and details we would need to include on their knickers and wrote about our choices. The Queen's Knickers, a super book that got all of the children engaged and busy, went down a treat. This led us on to the Little People, Big Dreams book all about King Charles where we found out so much about his life. 

This week in English writing, we have been learning about non-chronological texts. We have unpicked them and learned about the features. We will be writing our own information texts about all of our learning about Castles. The children know so much and are looking forward to applying this knowledge to a non-chronological text. 

We have completed our Scratch Jr unit in Computing and our animations based on a traditional tale or our own story. We created at least two characters and at least two pages with characters that talked and moved. The children chose their own backgrounds and loved making these. We focused on the vocabulary and the children can now talk to you about algorithms, codes, buttons, blocks and loops....ask them! You can access a free version that they can use at home. I have a feeling we may see some coders and animators in the future! Well done Cygnets!

In RE, we focused on making and breaking promises, which drew out some wonderful conversations. We read the parable of the two sons from the Bible and talked about how actions speak louder than words. We also acted out the fight between David and Goliath and it was a good reminder to us to be brave and bold and have faith in God. 

We look forward to our last week of school - Kitchen Club on Monday, whole school Cygnets Forest school on Thursday, DT day on Wednesday and also a wonderful live ZOOM with the one and only Axel Schleffler, to find out how he illustrates his most famous books. We will surely have a wonderful final week before half term. A HUGE well done to our wonderful Year 2 children who were absolute superstars and completed their SATs exams this week. We are so proud of each of you! 

… and the Nest

Reception developed the theme of the Coronation and the term's topic of Turrets and Tiaras and looked at poems about the King by AA Milne, from his collection "When we were very young".  We very much enjoyed reading and learning about Buckingham Palace, The King's Breakfast and If I were King.  We used classroom props and made simple costumes to act out the poems, with guards and dairymaids and royal splendour every time.  The children were very clever and imaginative in their rhymes as they pondered If they were King: "If I were King of Spain, I would go in a train; If I were King of London, I would leave my shoes undone; If I were King of France, I would sing and dance."

This week we continued the royal glamour and read The Princess and the Pea.  We learnt about Hans Christian Andersen, the enchantment of fairy tales but also that we should not judge someone on first impressions.  We are all very taken with the Princess who arrived at the castle in a storm, dripping wet and bedraggled.  When she claimed she was a true Princess, the Queen put a pea in her bed of 20 mattresses to see how she fared.  In the morning, the Princess was black and blue all over and had not slept a wink.  That was the proof that was needed and the Prince and the Princess were married and lived happily ever after.  We have drawn the real Princess and described her, built her a bed with 20 mattresses, and had fun with a tray of frozen peas!

The bed stacked with 20 mattresses has been a great opportunity to consolidate our counting and recognising and writing numbers in the teens. We have copied the numbers and will be ordering them as well as collaging 20 strips of coloured paper to make our own Princess beds.  We are still working on number bonds to 5 and, hurrah, the children are brilliant at all things 5, using their fingers to find out how many are needed to make that golden number.  We have played games tossing 5 double-sided counters, sung about "5 Little Kittens jumping on the Bed" and sorted baskets of two groups of resources.  

The children very much enjoy every moment they can use the Continuous Provision.  While the girls typically have tea parties in the home corner or teach the dolls to read in the Phonics area, the boys make traffic jams across the classroom and build Lego towers, but they have all focused on stickle brick models this week as a challenge in spatial awareness.  Initially they have copied model cards but have pushed their learning to invent their own constructions and ideas, working cleverly and collaboratively.

Forest School is always a treat.  Last week we thought about Spring in the woods and were shown some beautiful abandoned nests and eggs.  Our task was to split into two teams and make our own nests - to fit all six of us.  We spent a good time collecting branches and twigs, leaves and moss and making a cosy safe place to home together.  We had a wonderfully warm sunny morning yesterday and, with little baskets and scissors, we walked the forest paths and carefully picked coloured flowers and interesting leaves.  Back at camp, our finds were laid on a square of folded white cotton and hammered with a mallet.  We were all amazed and delighted by the pattern and colour as the cloth was opened.  The simplicity and achievement of the exercise, with the symmetry and delicacy of the artwork, made a formative impression on us all.

Term 5 Week 2 and 3 

The children and teachers are loving the little bit of sunshine that we are getting at the plenty of opportunity to get outside. We were sad to find that something perhaps a larger bird took at least one of our Robin chicks that were happily nesting with Mummy Robin in our Math's shed, however we took this as a great learning opportunity. The children as always showed resilience and hope that Mummy and Daddy Robin choose somewhere a little safer for their next nest. 

This week we have revisited some of the Set 3 sounds, continuing to plug those gaps ready for Year One Phonics' Screening test and building fluency in reading, so that we can focus on reading for meaning and with more intonation and expression. The children are doing very well.

In English, we are all exploring the wonderful text by Nicholas Allan, The Queen's Knickers. We are designing pants for King Charles and knickers for Queen Camilla, at the same time exploring facts about the Royal family and finding out about the Coronation. We have read Little People, Big Dreams - King Charles and found out a lot about him. We hope the children will enjoy watching the Coronation at the weekend and we look forward to hearing all about it and any celebrations you are participating in. 

In RE, Reception explored a range of bibles and acted out 'Jesus Calms the Storm'. They loved whooshing around outside like the waves and the wind and showing their calm, relaxed faces as Jesus. 

In Maths, we have been exploring money. Year 1s are really thinking about the value of coins, the shape, the colour and getting to know them well. Year 2s are combining values of coins together and drawing upon their addition facts and coin knowledge to do so. If you have a chance this bank holiday weekend, please allow the children use some coins to roleplay shop at home or pay for something at a real shop. Money is becoming a more difficult teaching point as we move away from using cash and having it in our purses and wallets. These everyday transactions are really important for the children and help them transfer their knowledge from other strands to real life scenarios.

In Computing, we continue to investigate and code using Scratch Jr. The children are using code, blocks, loops and a range of other buttons to make animations. They are really enjoying this app and have worked hard on creating sound buttons to go with their characters.

In Topic, we continue our Turrets and Tiaras topic. Please start encouraging your child to think about their castle and what they would like to use to make it: cardboard boxes, yoghurt pots, string for drawbridges, cylindrical tubes for towers, tall and narrow boxes for a keep if that is included. We will be using junk modelling to make our castles and would really appreciate if you could save some bits for your child to make their ideal castle. This week we have explored the features of a castle and the purpose of each.

We hope the weather holds out for another wonderful weekend of down time, family time and fun. Happy long weekend everybody! 

… and the Nest

Spring has sprung and Reception is buzzing.  We have opened the Nest and are learning in our special place as well as the classroom.  On Tuesday, we explored all corners of the playground and wildlife garden with a scavenger hunt looking for signs of Spring.  We could hear the birds and the lambs next door, spotted new leaves, seedlings, blossom, daffodils, frogspawn and birds' nests.  We then practised observational drawing, sitting in front of one of our finds and making careful sketches.  

Sudeley Castle was a fabulous trip!  We explored the castle with its grand rooms and the gardens with the ruins of the Banqueting Hall, the pretty Knot Garden and St Mary's Church.  We talked about King Henry VIII and his six wives and found Katherine Parr's tomb in the beautiful church.  The day ended in the wonderful Adventure Playground with rides and slides and lots of fun all round.

Back in school, we continued thinking about lifecycles and charted the course of a robin from birth, as a hatchling, chick and fledgling.  Sadly, the robins in our garden were disturbed, but the education was superb and this exercise was a conclusive finale to their time with us.

At Forest School we used the woodland to tiptoe like foxes, look like owls and listen like deer, understanding that these birds and animals have developed keen, clever ways to survive in the forest. 

In Maths, we have moved from doubles to counting - sounds and large amounts.  How do we successfully know the stopping number?  We move the objects - we put the pencils in their tin, we put the fruit back in the bowl, we make a line with the cubes. 

This week we have immersed ourselves in all things royal and Coronation.  The Cygnets joined to listen to The Queen's Knickers by Nicholas Allan.  Reception thought about special occasions of their own and designed a pair of knickers to show this.  Then, they used the pictures of the Queen's knickers to understand more about her life and likes and matched photos of events in her life with the colourful illustrations of knickers.  We also learned about King Charles, using one of the series of Little People, Big Dreams.  We have made paper crowns, gently sung the National Anthem, coloured-by-number the Union Jack and looked at photographs of the stunning Crown Jewels and the Gold State Coach.  I very much hope the children will watch the key moments of the Coronation ceremony and enjoy the splendour, the history and party afterwards. 


Forest School was delightful and continued the Coronation theme.  It was warm and sunny and we made forest crowns with willow cuttings.  We twisted and wove the stems to sit proudly on our heads and adorned them with gems of dandelions and daisies, new leaves and feathers, moss fur and bark.  It was a fabulous forest nod to the occasion ahead.   

Term 5, Week 1

The Cygnets have a had a fantastic start to the Summer term. They have come back ready for the new term invigorated and ready to learn.

In Topic, we have started our Turrets and Tiaras topic. We introduced this topic through watching a clip from Harry Potter. We looked at Hogwart's Castle and are enthused to learn everything we can about castles including why they were built, how long does it take to build a castle, who lives in a castle and what are the features of a castle. These are only a few of the brilliant questions the children came up with that they would like to find out about over the next five weeks. 

In Computing we started our Scratch Junior programming unit. We tinkered on Thursday with the app and it was amazing how much the children can work out independently by exploring different actions. This unit will put our understanding of algorithms into practice, connecting and progressing their learning from previous units this year.

In RE, we began exploring how everyone is unique and loved. We enjoyed playing some circle games talking about how we are different individually but also how what wonderful qualities we have from the perspective of other children in the class. We will explore some bible stories specifically parables that will show how everyone is loved and valued by God.

In English, we began our 'Tiaras and Turrets' book, Rapunzel. We have been rewriting the story, discussing and describing characters and retelling the story with actions. We are focusing on writing with stamina and the children are doing really well with this target.

In Maths, we have been making arrays with concrete apparatus, drawing arrays, looking at repeated addition and investigating multiplication. We are revisiting addition, subtraction and multiplication and division with a prime focus on number work.

In Phonics' lessons, the children are doing really well with their special friends, Fred talk and reading the words. They are becoming much more fluent and responding to their reading teachers really well. Please remember to read to your children and listen to your children read as much as possible, our aim is to make your children the best possible readers they can be which will help them across the curriculum. 


And in the Nest....

Reception has come back from the Easter holidays bursting with energy and enthusiasm.  The weather has been warmer with glorious sunny mornings and we have been both inside and outside again, at last.  For the next fortnight we are looking at plants and growing and are enjoying The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle.  As the tiny seed, we have travelled through his glorious illustrations up to the sun and over icy mountains, along the ocean and across the dry desert. We are still here - not too hot, too cold, too wet nor too dry.  And safely on the ground, the seed has germinated growing roots, a stem, some leaves and a bud for flowers.  The petals blow off, the seed pod bursts, the wind carries the seeds and the lifecyle continues - a super concept and fabulous vocabulary.  The children have understood and sequenced the events, supported by "The Seed Song" which they act as they sing.  They have planted 'cress heads' in paper cups on which they drew their own smiling faces.  These are lined on the window sill, the tiny cress seeds on damp cotton wool in the warmth and sunshine.  Germination is imminent and we are watching and waiting and looking forward to a crop of strong straight green 'hair'. 

We have been spotting doubles in Maths.  It is thumbs up or thumbs down as we look at two dice.  Are they equal?  What double can you see?  We are also consolidating number bonds to 5 and 10 using dominoes and playing cards, finding the hidden part of the whole and singing "Five Currant Buns" and "Five Speckled Frogs".  I hope recall of these number facts will become quick and spontaneous and any and all practice at home would be a real bonus.

The morning at Forest School was delightful.  The sun shone as we crossed the woods to the pond - a dew pond - with a lidded bucket.  Inside, under the algae, we were shown frogspawn: the eggs and embryo and a few new tadpoles.  We watched as it was poured carefully into the pond and we will revisit to notice the pond and its life develop through the coming weeks.  Back at base camp we enjoyed the warmth and the dry at snack time and had a terrific play for rest of the session.  The children each have their favourite areas.  They make the most of them, conferring with their friends or on a lone mission, continually deepening their experiences and learning.


Term 4, Week 3 & 4

Where do I start? Kitchen Club last week was delightful with the children making muffins, hot cross buns and egg sandwiches. They were all very much on task when I popped in last Monday. Wednesday saw another special day, Design and Technology were the children loved designing and creating their own Easter puppets. Reception worked hard to staple their fabric together, year ones varied using staples and added decoration and year two children decided to sew their puppets together. With a lot of hard work the children made some wonderful puppets and were delighted to bring them home. 

Another huge thank you to Kim from the Madhatter's Bookshop who gave us a fifty-pound book voucher for our school towards our book wishlist. A small group of children went to Burford to read, look and enjoy Kim's wonderful bookshop. They chose some fantastic books and we cannot wait to begin reading them in class.

We thoroughly enjoyed reading Roald Dahl's, 'The Magic Finger' over the last few weeks and we have completed many activities around it. We are also going to dip into 'Fantastic Mr Fox' briefly to write some persuasive statements about hunting but first the children are completing their own sequels to 'The Magic Finger'.

We are still working our way around the United Kingdom and exploring everything that is great about each of the countries. The children loved finding out facts and figures about Scotland and Wales and are now thinking carefully about personal coat of arms. They will be using their interests to create their own based on the very clever Andrew Stewart Jamieson.

In Computing, we are enjoying our unit about data and how we use it. We are using a lovely pictogram app that the children can use on the ipads to represent given data. On Thursday, we looked at tally charts and created some various charts to represent this data. 

A polite reminder to ensure your child has their reading folders in school each day, quiz on their Accelerated Reader books and change them as soon as possible. Every child has progressed in their phonic's journey and our classroom is full of sounds, special friends, Fred talk and reading words each morning. 

We were especially proud of Kiera, Harriet and Ferne who presented their little hearts out to a big audience at Fairford Primary. The competition was high and the girls did amazing. We are already thinking of next year's competition!

One more week of super learning left before a well deserved rest, well done Cygnets! 

In the nest...

In Reception, we have devoted the last fortnight to one of my favourite texts, Stanley's Stick by John Hegley.  We have enjoyed the simple story, full of clever alliteration and rhyme, as well as the super illustrations showing Blackpool with its beaches, tower and donkey rides.  We have all hunted for our own sticks - ones that said "pick me up".  We spent some time getting to know our sticks - we drew them and labelled them with careful adjectives.  Like Stanley, we played with our sticks, found a useful purpose for our sticks and then named them.  We have "Sdndeeupystick", "Wigglystic" and Llumpystick".  We have made some stick man art with twigs and leaves and had a delightful morning at Forest School completing sticky challenges: find a straight stick, find a wiggly stick, write your name in the ground and make a 'stick-a-saurus'.   The children always rise enthusiastically to the Forest School opportunities and their dino-sticks were fabulous.

We have worked some more on looking at numbers to 10 with the aid of Numberblock videos, paper squares and interlocking cubes to build towers up to 8.  The children can spot an incorrect staircase and know that as it rises each number is one more than the previous one. We have also been subitising and noticing groups of different dots, knowing how many in each and using our number bond knowledge to understand how many altogether.  The Hungarian number patterns on a die very much assist recognition here.   We are still thinking about time, ordering our visual timetable and singing "Days of the Week".

Despite the Spring sunshine, it was mighty cold at Forest School this week.  Sue brought her hand puppet forest friends: Cyril the Squirrel, fox, owl, grey squirrel, baby hedgehog and rhino (!).  The children shared them and took them into the woods to play.  Back at base camp, there was hot chocolate to perk us - and it did.  Happy days.


Cygnets, Term 4, Week 1 & 2
World Book Day ended our first week back after a hopefully relaxing half term. Click onto our school website to see some photos and some of the many events that we took part in. We thoroughly enjoyed making and creating our own suitcases inspired by Paddington Bear, the children included things that reminded them of home and we had beautiful jars of country living sounds along with special teddy bears. The children loved listening (again) to the original story of Paddington Bear and some wrote beautiful letters that documented the contents of their suitcases. 
We loved running around the grounds of Southrop School on a book focused treasure hunt and we were amazed at how many children knew the majority of the clues! We enjoyed a book swap and everyone went home with a new book and also their chosen World Book Day book from the Madhatter's Bookshop. We read lots of books and we also enjoyed parading around in our wonderful costumes, talking about books and characters along with working our way through several different activities. Bedtime story completed our book day and we enjoyed reading, Hannah Gold's, 'The Lost Bear' and Julia Donaldson's, 'The Detective Dog' whilst munching on biscuits and drinking hot chocolate. Another huge thank you to Kim from the Madhatter's Bookshop who not only dropped us in a book for everyone but also for the fifty pound book voucher for our school towards our book wishlist. 
Thank you to Mr and Mrs Pressdee and Noah for their very generous bag of beautiful titles, we are steadily working our way through them. Today we enjoyed, 'The Proudest Blue' by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S.K. Ali consolidating our unit on Islam last term and also reminding us that when unkind words are said to us to remember that those words do not belong to us and we must drop them straight away. 
We began reading Roald Dahl's, 'The Magic Finger' last week and have just completed it today. The book offers wonderful discussions, book talk, opportunities to debate and write persuasive statements. We have also explored different sentence types and are building stamina in writing. The children are doing a great job and am sure can discuss whether they agree with hunting or not. 
In Maths, Year 2 children have completed their unit on Fractions and have moved onto time. Please encourage them to notice the time particularly, o'clock, half past, quarter past and quarter to. We have linked the two units nicely and the children were great at using their number facts to work out half of sixty and so on, they also used their fraction knowledge to work out different times. 
In Computing, we will begin learning about data and how we use it. In RE, we are really enjoying learning about the Easter Story. Our focus last week was Palm Sunday and this week we doodled, drew and coloured using bright colours for happy parts of the story and dark colours for unhappy parts. We also identified a range of emotions that the Easter story holds. We look forward to a library trip this term, also learning about 'Everything that is great about Britain'. 
A polite reminder to ensure your child has their reading folders in school each day, quiz on their Accelerated Reader books and change them as soon as possible. Every child has progressed in their phonic's journey and our classroom is full of sounds, special friends, Fred talk and reading words each morning. We wish Kiera, Harriet and Ferne the very best at the Look who's talking competition at Fairford this Friday morning. 
The Nest...
Reception have had a lot of fun with our topic of Food and Cooking. Last week they enjoyed one of my favourites, The Giant Jam Sandwich by Vernon Lord. They read the story with its eccentric plot and rhyme, sequenced it as a group and made their own sandwich traps with paper slices of bread. They watched how a jam sandwich was made and ordered pictures to show they could make their own jam sandwiches. On Friday, they did just that - and pieced together all their slices to make their own giant jam sandwich that they shared with Cygnets for snack. This week our focus has been The Gingerbread Man. We have continued to talk about instructions. We have helped the Old Woman with a recipe for another gingerbread man and made our own gingerbread play dough in the classroom. We have considered the character of the gingerbread man and the fox and what we might have done in that situation. 
In Maths, we have been looking at sequences of time. We have considered what we do in a day and ordered our activities as a visual timetable and used sequential vocabulary: morning, afternoon, evening, first, next, then. We are tackling the days of the week and making our own clock faces, realising that there are twelve points, a short hand and a long hand. In Mastering Number, we have been comparing groups and realise that colour and size are not important when we are looking at number. We are using the fingers on our hands to make 6, 7 and 8 using the phrases "5 and a bit" or "5 and some more". We are singing "One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Once I caught a Fish Alive", carefully manipulating our fingers, and remembering which is the little one on the right by colouring the pad with a red 'bite'.
Our new reading groups have really taken hold and all Reception are making great strides. Everyone is reading either Red Ditty or Green RWI books and the classroom is a hive of sounds and Fred talk in the mornings. We have been using the stories as a basis for forming sentences and progressing handwriting. 
World Book Day, a terrific occasion of learning and fun, replaced Forest School last week. The flurries of wet snow have been great in the playground but it will be interesting to have Forest School in the snow - lots of layers and resilience, I think, and perhaps some hot chocolate around the campfire to keep everyone toasty and happy.

Bedtime Story, World Book Day 2023

Cygnet Classroom

In the Cygnet Classroom - Term 3 week 6 and 7

We had a fantastic trip to the Islamic Centre of Excellence in Oxford. We learnt so much about the religion, Islam. We had a fantastic tour of the Mosque and listened to many wonderful facts about what Muslim people believe and how they live. We then had lunch in the beautiful sunshine at Headington park across the road from the Mosque. The coach picked us up and then took us to the Ashmolean gallery where we explored Islamic pattern and also managed to see many beautiful paintings, objects and casts. The children were delighted to find a huge tapestry that was an old map of England and we even found Southrop on it. 

We completed our learning in Computing on algorithms and enjoyed debugging maps and using beebots to give instructions. In RE, we summed up our learning by creating wonderful posters all about Islam. The children did a wonderful job of collating all of the seven weeks of learning in one poster and should be very proud of their work. 

In English, we read a traditional tale from West Africa called Anancy the spider. We planned and will be writing our own traditional tales based on this tale at the end of the week. We have worked hard to plan the characters, setting, build up, problem, resolution and the ending to our traditional tales and look forward to writing them carefully.

In Maths, the year two children have been wonderful at investigating mass. They have been working out the difference between what a gram is and a kilogram. We did lots of comparing and weighing and will enjoy exploring mass a little more before we break for the holidays.

Year one children are becoming much more fluent with their number facts and are solving problems using these bonds. Well done you three superstars!

We will be learning about African instruments on Thursday of this week and planning our own instruments, we will not have time to make them but if you are looking for a fun task at home, the children could do this over half term. Well done also on your wonderful Rousseau inspired African Sunset painting with silhouettes of animals, they are fantastic! 

We are looking forward to a whole class session at forest school on Thursday and will be definitely in need of a rest after our Show and Share on Friday. Have a wonderful half term everybody and stay safe. Be very proud of your little ones as they are working incredibly hard and we are so happy to see such brilliant strides in their learning. 

And in the Nest...

Reception took advantage of the cooler forecast last week to think about Winter and what we would expect to see outside.  Having navigated a couple of non-fiction books and understood they would give us information, we turned the pages to contemplate the signs of Winter and their significance.  We planned a Winter Walk in the playground and the Wildlife Garden for Wednesday and, oh my, was it the ideal morning :-).  It was freezing cold, densely foggy, the ground nervously slippery but sparkling and white, the steps from the classroom crunching with salt, the proud oak tree in the playground dark and leafless, a solitary evergreen blurred in the distant field, a hoar frost that revealed meticulous spiders' webs, blanketed the vegetable beds and graced the leaves and branches of the bushes and shrubs in the Wildlife Garden - and the pond was perfectly iced.  The children each had an iPad and took a plethora of wonderful photos of all the signs of Winter.  We all needed gloves and scarves and hats just like the books told us - but fingers and toes got very cold very quickly!!  We used the experience to write about the signs of Winter and what we see using our phonics to decipher the words for our pictures.  Our discussions also introduced wonderful new vocabulary: hibernation and migration, the latter offering a great link to our afternoon topic work on Wild Africa.  


We have returned to Traditional Tales and, to conclude the term, we have enjoyed Mr Wolf's Pancakes which combines a fabulous collection of classic characters with an iconic, dastardly wolf and an enormous plate of buttery pancakes - with a nod to Shrove Tuesday.  We have discussed the significance of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday - a day that Christians partied and used up their flour, eggs and milk before Lent, the lead up to Easter.  The children all told of their favourite toppings and drew and labelled scrumptious pancakes.  They have written shopping lists to take home for what they would choose on Pancake Tuesday.  I do hope that was on your half-term agenda...  We will finish with a perusal of a pile of the traditional tales we have encountered and some quiet own-reading time.  Some of the children will read the books, others will retell the stories from the illustrations.  Then, I will ask them all to choose one, copy the title, draw a picture that tells us what it is about and write a sentence or two.  It might just be their first book review.


The children's work on pattern in Maths has moved on to continuing a pattern in a circle - quite an ask in reality - and using 'other' materials with which to make patterns.  Forest School came up trumps and the children enjoyed a morning of sticks and leaves and woodland treasures which they laid into fabulous rhythms and arrangements.  We are using Numicon and other classroom resources to notice that the composition of 5 is 4 and 1 or 3 and 2.  We have sung and acted "Five Little Speckled Frogs" counting how many are on the log and in the water, as well as "Five Little Aliens" whose spaceship is a large die showing five dots for seats.  


We have all done super Phonics work and everyone is moving into the next groups with new material - pats on the back all round.  We had a busy but brilliant time making smoothies for DT day and crocodiled to St Peter's for Worship in church where we listened to the story of Noah's Ark and the Creation.  What a full and jolly term it has been. We are all ready for a well-earned break. Well done, lovely Reception, and happy half-term to all.



Week 4 and 5

Another wonderful two weeks in the Cygnet classroom. We are preparing for our trip to the Mosque next week and we have come up with many questions to ask. Year 1 and 2 built Mosques using Lego and other construction materials. The children thoroughly enjoyed discussing baptisms and the Reception children were so happy to share their photographs of when they were welcomed into the world. We also explored how different religions welcome babies. The Reception children have enjoyed learning about the Islamic faith.

In English writing, we have been exploring African Poetry. We read 'The Animal Fair', internalised it and added an array of different elements to the poem, including instruments. The children loved performing for one another and were able to discuss some poetic features used in the poem.

In Maths, the Year 1 children are continuing their journey exploring and consolidating their number facts. They are enjoying using number frames, counters and numicon to aid their investigations. The Year 2 children are working diligently on multiplication and division exploring arrays, using numicon and base ten and also odd socks to count groups of numbers.

We completed our Algorithm unit and learnt about decomposition in IT talk. The children broke down algorithms into simple steps and then followed up this week debugging sets of directions and maps.

The children are working really well in their RWI reading groups and are getting into brilliant routines of reading at home. Many of the children have increased their reading ages and this is down to the hard, consistent work that reading leaders are putting into their groups but it also shows your brilliant efforts at home encouraging bedtime stories, reading for pleasure, accelerated reader quizzing and reading home readers. Thank you as always for your support.

In Topic, the children are exploring Henri Rousseau in Art and will be creating their own African sunset silhouette paintings. They are truly enjoying learning about the African animals and look forward to learning more about African artists and patterns.

Some children took part in the Oracy School heats and I am waiting to hear how many children I can put forward. As soon as I know, I will be in touch. All of the children were superb and put a wonderful amount of effort in preparing over the weekend - well done!


… and the Nest

Reception has been immersed in Traditional Tales and particularly, for this fortnight, The Three Little Pigs. We have read the classic story time and time again, noticing the differences in other versions: the unlucky pigs have been eaten by the wolf or they have escaped to the brick house; the wolf has slithered down the chimney to be boiled in the hot pot or fled forever with a badly burnt bum.

We focused first on the iconic Well Loved Tales version with its vintage illustrations, but then cut out and sequenced alternative pictures onto a story map and laughed and sung along with “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” from Disney's 1933 brilliant award-winning Silly Symphony - still totally delightful.

We have an extensive pile of books of with varying stories of the little pigs that the children peruse. With the understanding that we can give a tale any details we wish, we are making our own story of the Three Little Pigs. The children are changing some of the key components.

They have each suggested other materials for the houses – one strong and two ‘silly’ - and have represented them as Shreddies, ice, spaghetti, bricks, jelly tots… And the explanations of how the dastardly wolf gets the pigs from these new houses is hugely imaginative and entertaining. Of course, we have made our own houses of straw, sticks and bricks for the classroom. We have glued handfuls of straw, lined rows of sticks and pasted cut-outs of bricks onto large cardboard boxes. They are just big enough to crawl into and have been a super mock up for story re-enacting and role play. Then we decorated origami paper houses – A4 paper carefully folded to stand, each with a roof and walls which the children cleverly adorned with pigs in their various homes.

We are looking at Pattern in Maths this term, moving from simple AB stripes to more complicated ABCC systems and our own inventions that we set up for the others to follow. We have used any and all resources and opportunities at hand. In Mastering Number, we have deepened our understanding of the composition of 5, its potential parts and how they might look: as a 2D numeral, a 3D shape, a series of dots (in any random arrangement) or a pile of counters or shells.

We are also consolidating our counting skills. The Numberblocks lose their Numberlings and we are foraging and feeling in a bag for the number they need. Those naughty Numberblocks also fall out of order from time to time and need to be re-positioned. When present and correct, they make a tidy staircase pattern, and each block is 'one more' as the stairs climb.

At Forest School last week we tidied up after a teddy bears’ picnic. We walked through the woods spotting toys left by the negligent bears on tree-stumps and in bushes. We found a toy car, a dinosaur and a tennis ball amongst other forgotten treasures. Some of the toys were obvious and others were camouflaged so we hardly noticed them. It was great to hear the children using this new vocabulary. Sue has a team of soft woodland toys all needing a cosy, safe retreat and, in this session, we made them small shelters. In pairs, each started with a Y stick within which they balanced a strong support stick. Twigs of descending length were leant against it on both sides and then a bed of soft leaves laid within and a dense outer covering of the same. The children were thoughtful and careful and the little homes were superb.


Cygnets - Term 3, Week 2 and 3 

Where have the last two weeks gone? It has been a busy one in the Cygnet classroom. We have been discovering African folklore and exploring lovely African counting books. The children have loved choosing animals and are using speech verbs and adjectives to describe them. They have also been perfecting their spelling of numbers and using their senses to imagine how animals move, feel, smell and sound. They will be using these wonderfully descriptive sentences in their own books and will illustrate them next week. 

The children are really enjoying singing about the seven Continents and are engrossed in our topic of Wild Africa. They have really enjoyed learning about some African countries and have worked hard to spot similarities and differences between the UK and Africa. 

In Maths, the year one children have been working on number facts. They are really enjoying the Numbots app and are competing for certificates each week. The year two children are enjoying our Geometry unit on position and direction and have really got to grips with what a right angle is and can use clockwise and anti-clockwise correctly although they were responsible for directing Mrs Tipple into a wall, on purpose or not, we will never know!! This has tied in beautifully with Computing and Algorithms and they all worked hard to on working out inputs and outputs for digital devices. 

Keep up the hard work and well done everyone on a fabulous couple of weeks! 

The Nest...

It was been a busy two weeks in Reception.  We are focusing on Traditional Tales and have been reading the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff.  Together we made a simple story map and practised retelling it.  We cut out lolly stick puppets and had a fabulous morning playing the story.  We were lucky to find a discarded fruit box which became the bridge and we used an intriguing collection of classroom props to build the scene.  Everyone joined in and contributed and there is no doubt that the tale is now firmly embedded.  With huge enthusiasm, the children each made paper plate masks of one of the goats - and then they were super eager to make the troll too.  Some of them are very scary, and when the masks are not in use, we have a chilling rogues' gallery glaring down into the classroom.  The children built a set out in our little garden with a bridge of milk crates and, wearing their masks, they trip trapped across the river and took their chances with the ugly troll.  I am pleased to say they all made it back into the classroom for snack.  We are learning how to write proper sentences, understanding that they should each start with a capital letter, the words should be separated with finger spaces, and should finish with a full stop.  We made delightful collage pictures of a scene from the story and wrote a sentence, or caption, to tell it. This week, we have looked at Billy Dogs Gruff, an alternative version of the original traditional tale.  The children enjoyed it immensely and using story cards as prompts, have drawn their own innovations and made their own stories.  I am looking forward to seeing a sentence or two to describe their tales. 


In Maths, the children have been making AB patterns using a wonderful variety of resources: threading beads, interlocking cubes and pressing pegs into borders. They have expanded to ABC patterns and are showing great enthusiasm and competence as they are challenged to show designs in sizes, shapes and colours.  In Number, we have been looking at composition and using the vocabulary "whole" and "part". We understand that a whole is made of smaller parts, some of which can be taken apart -  puzzles and lego toys, but others stay attached - our arms and legs to our bodies!  We have enjoyed composing and decomposing numbers 2 3 and 4 with post-its and blocks as well as watching Numberblocks bounce on stampolines to splat and print themselves in different arrangements.  We each printed Numberblock Four in as many different ways as we could and used spatial language to describe them to the group.   


Our DT day this term was cooking.  We all made a chilli con carne - African style...  We put together porcupines of baked potatoes and sausages on cocktail sticks.  We chopped onions and peppers, seared beef mince, stirred in spices, tomatoes and red kidney beans and each took home a nutritious bag of deliciousness for supper. 


It rained incessantly at Forest School last week.  The children were amazingly brave and resilient.  Luckily, there is now a shelter and Sue set up a brilliant woodland memory game.  We huddled around her table of forest finds, had a good analysis of each item then closed our eyes as she removed one and recalled which item was missing. Then it was our turn to hunt for unusual pieces, delightful and rewarding in itself, and we played the same game with our partners.  Today was idyllic - crisp and cold but sparkling and sunny with a cloudless blue sky. We listened to the leaves crunch as we walked the paths and watched Sue light the camp fire with a steel and flint. We made a shelter with long branches and gathered around for scrummy hot chocolate and comforting warmth. We are a lucky team. 

Term 3, Week 1. January 2022

Annnnddddd suddenly Christmas is over! Happy New Year to all of you, we hope you had a wonderful couple of weeks and your house was not too plagued with illness. 

We have had a wonderful first week back. We began our week with our new term of Creativity where we acted out as a whole school the Creation Story. Then the whole school separated into their new reading groups and spent some time reviewing previous learned sounds and getting to know their reading teacher. We will be sending a variety of books home from Friday, 13th January for your child to read with you at home. More details to follow. 

Wednesday morning we had a whole school focus on writing for pleasure. The children loved listening to the famous Joseph Coelho talking to them about a project run by the British Library, Step inside your story! The children planned their stories all about themselves carefully and made concertina books with a colourful front and back page. They wrote about themselves, wrote stories, illustrated them and decorated their books ready for you to look at on our Celebration board in the cloakroom.  The afternoon was slow and steady where we explored some different RE topics. Year one and two are learning about Islam and Reception are learning about being unique and special. The children also visited the library for some books to take home for bedtime stories. 

We had a wonderful day at the Chipping Norton Theatre watching Dick Whittington. It was superb and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the children's faces watch the pantomime unfold! It was magical and they loved their tub of ice cream and chocolates! We finished the day dressing each other with dress up clothes and exploring algorithms as part of our computing topic. 

This term, the children will enjoy 'Wild Africa' as their topic, dive into three different African folk tales in Writing lessons and make some music with African instruments to retell some African poetry. We look forward to a less ill half term of wonderfulness as we watch the light slowly return. Happy New Year to you all!

And in the Nest...

We have had the best return to school after Christmas.  Our first morning was christened with our fabulous new reading scheme. The classroom was a buzz of Fred talk and flashes of green word cards with small  groups of matched readers in all corners.  The sessions are short and sharp and the children are focused and learning.  For the remainder of the morning, we participated in the whole school writing: Step into your story.  We planned our little books with notes and sketches of what we looked like, what we liked most - and least - and what lovely things our friends said about us.  When we wrote the hard copies of our concertina books, we made them our own and wrote and drew whatever we wanted to say about ourselves, however we wanted to present it.  Each one is very much our own story and a real treasure - all entirely different and unique.

The pantomime at iconic Chipping Norton theatre, Dick Whittington, was fabulous - a bonanza of colour and song, dance and wit, all woven into a traditional tale.  It provided every pantomime antic from a swarthy dame to a cunning baddie, audience singing, squirted water, sweets flung to all and ice creams in the interval.  In Reception, we have considered different performances over the last few weeks and will compare our own Nativity play to our study of the ballet, The Nutcracker, and now a classic pantomime.

The story of Dick Whittington was a great start to our term of traditional tales.  We will look at The Three Billy Goats Gruff and then The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  We will use Talk for Writing to understand the story formats.  We will imitate and innovate so that we make our own excerpts and amendments to the traditional tales.  I know this group of Reception children have great imaginations and I am looking forward to all their ideas and renditions.

As the term progresses, will continue with Mastering Number.  We will start with developing our understanding of composition within 5.  We will look at part-part-whole models using what we know and see (our bodies and lego toys) before spotting it and plotting it on paper.  We will also look at pattern and enjoy using colour, shape, sound, words and our extensive selection of loose parts to continue and create repeats.    

Term 2, Week 6 Y1&2 

The Nativity is well and truly up and running. We are practicing regularly and the children are perfecting their parts, actions and singing. They now have an excellent understanding of the Christmas story and the real meaning of Christmas. They can talk about the different Advent candles and how they are preparing their hearts for Christmas. 

In English, the children have really enjoyed recording questions to ask the unusual character that we are following in Alexis Deacon's book; Beegu. We also took it in turns to hot seat Beegu and find out some of the answers to these questions, the children soon learned that open questions were the best method for finding out more detail and information about Beegu. They have also enjoyed story mapping the story and retelling the story to their talk partners. 

As a whole school, we have moved to a no hands up policy and now we give each child the opportunity to answer every question that is asked in lessons. The children talk to their talk partner and rehearse what they are going to say thus building confidence and taking part in finding out the answer to teacher's key questions. We also have introduced a new 'Team Stop' signal to gain the attention of the children in a quiet and quick way. The children have responded beautifully as always. Well done!

In Maths, year two children are working on repeated addition and multiplication facts. They are gaining understanding through concrete apparatus and team work. In year one, the children have been focusing on their number facts of ten and have enjoyed some number bond games this week to ensure a quick recall of facts. 

You may notice that the children have extra home readers, we are delighted to say that each child will bring home a wider variety of reading for you to enjoy with them. In most cases, your child will receive a book that they have read in class three times, a book that is in their book band, a non-fiction decodeable book for your child, an AR book if they are on this programme and a bookbag book. They will also visit the library on a more frequent basis and will take home a book that they have chosen for pleasure. We would like to really encourage you to write in the children's reading record book each evening when they complete some reading with you. Please also visit our library with your child before and after school (not on a Wednesday or a Thursday AM due to music) and enjoy or borrow a book to read together. Our screen will also feature Bookflix which will be updated by our Reading Monitors on a regular basis, these will help all readers to choose a book to borrow. Also please keep quizzing, the Swan children are winning all the certificates, let's change that narrative! 

We look forward to welcoming you to the Nativity next Tuesday, 13th December, Christmas Bedtime Story next Thursday, 15th December for stories and hot chocolate. We hope your child(ren) enjoy all of the wonderful Advent activities featuring over the next week. Have a very happy and safe Christmas and enjoy some down time snuggled up with your child(ren) wherever you may be. 

Mrs Tipple and Miss Davies

… and the Nest 

The Reception children have been very busy with wonderful extra activities, especially D&T day, Strictly and our trip to Winchester Space Centre - all in one week. They learnt about sliders and levers as they made their own pop-up books based on Whatever Next by Jill Murphy. At Strictly, we were entertained, delighted and so impressed by the dances performed by friends in both Swans and Cygnets and listened to the valuable commentary from the judges. All votes are important and we were each proud to offer our points. It was a super day at the Space Centre with a fabulous journey across the universe in the planetarium followed by a session as scientists making rockets. We decorated them, created friction and fired their vapours to see them shoot across the room. The first ones didn’t get very far and, as true scientists, we remodelled and refined our rockets to watch very much more successful second firings. There was also a plethora of arcade activities with which to experiment and explore - all hugely enjoyed.

To complement our visit, the Space topic and our theme of Dark and Light, last week we read How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers. Each of the children came up with their own ingenious ideas as to how to achieve this and sketched and labelled their plans.  Christmas has come this week.  We have started to rehearse and choreograph our Nativity play, and we are enjoying another, different performance, The Nutcracker. We have learnt the story of Clara and her wonderful nutcracker gift, her conquest of the Mouse King and her glorious journey with her Prince across the Land of Snow to the Land of Sweets. We have made models of each of the characters and designed our own Land of Sweets. We will think about sleep and dreams and where we might travel. Of course, there is Tchaikovsky’s music and the beautiful ballet to tell the story for us and we have watched snippets of George Ballanchine’s brilliant New York City show. It is entrancing. 

We are very much still Mastering Number, looking more at subitising and using our fingers to represent the amount we see. It is mighty convenient to have five fingers on one hand.  We have been looking at equal quantities and matching amounts, using both our fingers to show this and carefully counting resources, recognising the stopping number tells us how many there are. We have been using resources to explore heaviest and lightest as well as shape, both 2D and 3D and their attributes. 

Last week was the Forest School finale for this term. We had lots of fun hunting Christmas decorations in the trees, made our own shelters for the Holy Family and cosied around the fire with hot chocolate. Perfect. 


Term 2, Week 4 Y1&2 

The children in Reception, Year One and Year Two are really enjoying our topic, Space, this term. We have been singing songs about our Solar System, reading and researching about the Space Race and really enjoying the book, The Extraordinary Life of Neil Armstrong by Martin Howard. We are looking forward to next week when the whole school will visit Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium and are confident that they will enjoy this “out of this world” experience!

After a few weeks of internalising the story of 'Man on the Moon' by Simon Barthram, the children enjoyed innovating and writing for a range of purposes. They reviewed model texts, did some shared writing and created their own sequels called 'A Day in the life of an Alien'. This week, we have moved on to talking, exploring, understanding and enjoying another Space themed high-quality text called 'Beegu' by Alexis Deacon. The children have many opportunities to delve further into the text and understand the character of Beegu and her journey on Earth as somebody quite different. 

In Computing, we are still getting to grips with logging on and understanding the different parts of a computer or laptop. The Reception children have been exploring the keyboard and finding the letters that make up their names. Year one and two have been finding out how to make a rocket and will be writing a list of materials they will need for their rocket, which they will be making out of junk modelling later this term. The aim is that they save their lists in their files successfully. 

Please note that when Mrs Tipple is back, year one and two children will be bringing home more books to enjoy sharing with you. We want to encourage the children to read frequently at home throughout the week, to build a habit and love of reading. 

Please ensure your child has their book bag in school every Monday so that they can change their books on a weekly basis. These books will help the children practise their phonics’ skills but will also build their love of reading through choosing some titles of interest to them.  

Please record all reading in their reading record book. We recommend a minimum of 20 minutes daily, which includes their bedtime story. Soon we will be offering prizes for the most reading at home. Please record the number of reads beside your comments so that we can reward your child accordingly.  

“If you are going to get anywhere in life, you have to read a lot of books”, Roald Dahl. 

Thanking you as always for your support and we look forward to seeing you at our Christmas Bedtime Story event on 15th December 2022 at 5pm. Have a lovely, restful weekend!

… and the Nest 

We have been enjoying Funnybones, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, for this fortnight as part of our focus on Dark and Light - and what a lot there is to learn in it!   Not only have we thought about the setting, imagined living in a dark space at night-time (and even in a cellar) and followed the skeletons mischievous antics: in the dark dark park, in the dark dark zoo and in the dark dark street, but we have also familiarised ourselves with each of the characters, expressed by clever repetition: the big skeleton scratches his skull and asks "What shall we do now?", the little skeleton has a good answer every time, and the dog eagerly joins in with the fun!  In groups of three, we made tableaus of scenes from the story, each wearing masks to take on the role of the individual characters.

With the help of the song "Dem Bones" and "The Skeleton Dance" we have jiggled our way into finding our own bones and now know to where each connects.

We have labelled the bones of a jolly flexy friend on the classroom wall and used a word mat to carefully read and copy or cut out the names of bones for our own skeleton worksheets.  This topic has offered super vocabulary.  We can piece together our own pile of paper bones into the big skeleton and the dog skeleton referring to the skull, spine and ribs.

There is a series of short animations of Funnybones adventures and now we know the prominent features of the stories, we are watching one a day and re-telling them, highlighting the similarities, peculiarities and clever effects of each one.

In Phonics, we have worked on more special friends: th and ch as well as w, z, qu and x.  X was a great opportunity to introduce x-rays and we easily named the parts of the body looking at black and white x-ray photographs with clear bone renditions. As we were learning to write x, we cut it out, chalked the outline onto black paper and stuck on cotton buds to simulate bones.

In Maths, we are considering length and ordered salt dough bones from longest to shortest.  We measured them with cubes and practised number formation as we recorded each one.  We compared each of the bones to a standard ruler: is it longer or shorter or, even, of equal length?  We have been counting in Mastering Number and finding out how many objects there are in the group by knowing that it is 'the stopping number' that tells us how many - and remembering to gently move each of the objects so we count each one once and once only.  We are also looking at 5 and using the golden resource of our hand.  We have enjoyed the verse and actions of Five Little Peas in a Peapod Pressed, and recognise the pattern of five on a die too.

As always, Forest School has brilliantly supported our learning.  Last week, we used the broomsticks we made previously to clear the leaves, collected an assortment of twigs and forest fare and laid them out as skeletons on the paths to frighten unsuspecting amblers.  The shenanigans of deciding what should go where and how was brilliant.  It was 'Funnybones in the Forest'. They were super - both the children and their skeletons. In this last session, we walked the bounds of Macaroni Woods and Sue showed us interesting features: we looked at pretty lichen, found a wobbly fungus called Jelly Ears, understood that is the deer that nibble the bark off the trees, and we each called into an echo hole formed by adjacent low branches.  Back at base, we made leaf boats with twig masts to float on pools of rainwater.

Term 2, Week 2 Y1&2 

This term's topic is Blast off to Space. The children are really enjoying exploring our topic books from Fairford Library. They have been learning about animals that went to Space, listening to Gustav Holst music, naming and learning the order of the planets and will begin learning about the race to Space. 

In Science, the children are thoroughly enjoying their Light and Dark topic. They will be comparing light and dark places and this week found out about sources of light making observations and comparisons. 

In English, we continue with our Man on the Moon key text by Simon Bartham. The children have made wonderful signs for the Moon to help Bob keep the moon tidy and safe, they also sent postcards from their trip on the moon. They have internalised the text and are using the style of Bartham to write themselves.

In Maths, we continue to work on mastering number. The children are becoming more confident with doubles and addition and subtraction number facts for numbers to ten. 

In RE, we made the characters from the Christmas Story and retold the story together through acting, role play and freeze frames. The Year ones and twos are really enjoying comparing the two versions from the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew. 

We hope you enjoyed our Remembrance service this morning at Church and have a wonderful weekend of rest, play and reading! 

...and the Nest 

It was lovely to see the Reception group back smiling, fresh-faced, assertive and ready to learn after half-term. 

We hit the ground running as we have tackled our first list of written words, or at least the initial sounds, as we recalled and noted characters and props in our book, Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler.  The cat and dog and bird and frog all join the witch on her broom after retrieving her hat and bow and wand.  We made our own wands with sparkling decoration and waved them as we heard rhyming words.  The witch is a beguilingly kind character.  We talked through the features of a witch, accepting that they needn't all be dark, and as a group, we each drew our own witchy representation - with fabulous individual details.  For Week 1, we read until the broom snapped in two, and have enjoyed 'Part Two', with its messy antics, this week.  We joined the witch in making potions: we wrote two words ("a rhyming pair") to shred and stir into our pots of magic crystals (bicarb of soda), spit (washing up liquid) and rainwater (vinegar).  It frothed and stank - and we drew our own versions of the magnificent broom that arose.  I am looking forward to the junk modelling of these ingenious ideas.

Our phonics is rapidly progressing too as we have now met our first "special friends", 'sh'.  With every sound, we see it and say it, look at pictures that use it, find a sh in the classroom and then write it and practise on our worksheets.  Further activities support the learning: last week, we hammered a 'h', rubbed a 'r' and shared a 'sh' with a special friend for whom we also drew a sh picture, and this week we collaged jellybeans into a 'j' jar and made a vase of v-flowers.

The clever subitising and counting in Mastering Number is much enjoyed.  It seems the children cannot be tricked by counting dots, even if their arrangements change.  It is great practice using positional language to describe their placement across the page.  Are they on top of each other, side by side or - new vocabulary - on a diagonal line?  We have also been subitising sounds using percussion instruments.  With eyes closed, the children show me the number of 'tings' or 'shakes' on their fingers.  Numberblock 4 has popped into the fray and shown us that just as four dots on the page can be in any arrangement, so can his four squares.  We have been comparing amounts using "more than" and enjoying capacity, tipping rice into containers so they are full, half full and nearly empty.

We enjoy verse every week - either poems, songs or nursery rhymes.  Over this fortnight, we have been singing both The Room on the Broom and There was an Old Lady who swallowed a Fly.  There is lots to remember but the rhyme is golden and the children are quick to thread it together and sing with me.  There is very often some interesting vocabulary too.

We made stunning forest fireworks at Forest School last week.  We found long straight sticks and threaded them with a medley of colourful leaves with which we wrote our names as sparklers and tossed through the air.  This week we complemented Room on the Broom and made our own broomsticks binding bushy twigs onto strong sticks.  It was great to see the forest full of witches, whirling and wailing between the trees.


Term 1, Week 6 and 7 - Cygnets - Year 1 and 2

Well done Cygnets on a fabulous final couple of weeks.We have packed a huge amount of learning into the last seven weeks and we would like to thank you for being ready, respectful and safe throughout the term. 

We have wrapped up our English unit having written poems based on a sea creature from our trip at the Bristol Aquarium and also inspired by the book 'Commotion in the Ocean' by Giles Andreae. 

In our Math's lessons we have have been working on ' Mastering Number' an integral part of our curriculum. These lessons are daily and focus on fluency in number. We have seen a big improvement since introducing these lessons and the children are really enjoying the links with Numberblocks. Perhaps this is something that you may like to play over the half term to consolidate our learning. Year twos have now a good understanding on odd and even numbers and year ones are working on their number bonds really well. 

We have completed our 'Under the Sea' topic and discussed our favourite parts of this term's learning. Some of the highlights were studying Joseph Turner and his seascape paintings, creating their own stormy seascape paintings using watercolours, learning about the different creatures who live under the sea in the UK and the Pacific ocean. The children also really enjoyed learning and naming all of the oceans and seas around the United Kingdom, I wonder can they remember these facts and show you on a map? We absolutely loved our trip to Bristol Aquarium where Captain Ben gave us a thorough guided tour of the place and the children loved listening to all the facts particularly the gruesome ones! 

In Computing, we have all learned how to be safe online. The children have come up with some great golden rules and also created posters about online safety. They know to always ask a grown up for permission before using any device, they also know to access children friendly websites, to never give out their personal information and also to seek help from a grown up should something unusual happen on their screen. 

The children have been consolidating their sounds and this has fed into how fluent they have become in their reading. They all have books that are appropriately challenging for their reading age and books that they enjoyed choosing. Please schedule some time daily to read to them, with them and allow them time to read independently and to you. Don't forget to write in their reading record books! A letter has gone out via email about Reading Bingo and we would be so proud if you could visit Fairford Library (or any library) with your children so that they can choose some books and participate in our Reading Bingo challenge. Libraries usually have some activities for free going on in the holidays so pop along and find out if this is something you would enjoy. 

We all loved our trip to the Forest today where we played the listening game and made magic potions whilst running wild and free! 

And in the Nest...

We have had an action-packed fortnight - brilliant Bristol Aquarium, DT day, full-on PE sessions with Miss Belcher and even more frolics at our favourite, Forest School. 

We have been reading We are Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury and thoroughly enjoying all aspects: the escapade, the characters, the repetition and the rhyme and the wonderful illustrations. First, we ‘imitated’ the story, getting to know it so well by chanting and acting and drawing our own story maps. Then, we ‘innovated’ the adventure, making it our own. We are in the process of a witch hunt - we are going to catch a wicked one, it is a beautiful day (debatable) and we’re certainly not scared. Each of the children has made post-it pictures of their witch and her hide-out to cover over the original bear and cave on their maps. Next, we will plot our journeys and what/where we will go through - very exciting. 

We always have some verse running alongside our story. We have repeatedly sung A-Hunting we will Go which has great rhythm and rhyme. The children have proffered some fabulous substitutions: a fox in a box has become a dog in a bog, a cat in a hat and even a shark in the park. 

We have learnt some more sounds: k u b f e l. The children are quick to recognise them and pick up the catchy handwriting phrases. We have ‘lifted off the top and scooped out the egg’ for e and opened hard boiled eggs which we then made into sandwiches for snack, and mark-made with feathers, aka quills, to go ‘down the stem and draw the leaves’ for the letter ‘f’. 

Maths has been super fun as we are have continued to count, subitise (spot amounts without counting) and look at the composition of three. We have played games with a dice whose six sides show 1 2 and 3 as well as one dot, two dots and three dots; we have made Numberblock 1 and used them to show that 1 and another 1 makes 2 as well as 1 and 1 and 1 makes 3.  And we laid a table for tea for three of our classroom friends - three chairs, three cups three saucers and three plates. The enthusiasm led to three of anything and everything else. It was a busy table but perfect counting practice. 

The theme of Autumn has continued in much of our Morning Activities, fine motor work and Continuous Provision. We have made pictures of creatures with leaves, pegged wonderfully coloured ones (red, brown, yellow and green) to matching card and threaded gorgeous leaf necklaces. At the same time, we have paired words with their images at the phonics table using our knowledge of initial sounds, laid out shape pictures, and continued working with playdough at any opportunity. It is a real favourite. Another is Lego towers - the taller the better. It is almost competitive but, fortunately, we have learnt that it is all the more successful when it is collaborative. 

Forest School is always a highlight of our week. We walked the woods searching for different textured trunks and made bark rubbings with wax crayons. We also played the best game, hiding in groups. Sue counted then called “One, two, three… Where are you?” and we all responded “One, two, three… We’re over here!!” Sue listened carefully and searched for the groups. It was raining, properly raining, this week - but it was such fun. We were allowed to stick out our tongues to taste the raindrops and then collected magic rain water to mix with magic forest floor finds using a magic woodland stick to make sensational magic potions. Wow!!

But, of course, our amazing trip to Bristol Aquarium and DT day were the real winners of the weeks. Who could have imagined such colourful, enormous, tiny, scary, delicate and hugely varied sea creatures were waiting for us after our bus ride to Bristol? Ben showed us around all the tanks and told us so much about what we saw - angel fish, puffer fish, little John Dory fish, unicorn fish and cat sharks as well as lobster, jellyfish and so much more.  For DT, making paper boats that didn’t sink because they were waterproof, floated and could be blown across classroom trays of sea was thrilling. The experiment was discussed, trialled and drawn up. The paper was folded and coated in colourful wax crayons and, yes, eureka! The Cygnet fleet was all afloat - and now rests, triumphant at port, on the window sills. 




Bristol Aquarium, 12th October 2022

Forest School, 20th October 2022

Bristol Aquarium, 12th October 2022

Previous updates from the Cygnet Classroom...

Term 1, Week 4 and 5 - CYGNETS - Year 1 and 2

Last week, the Cygnets really enjoyed delving into the beautiful story of 'The Rainbow Bear' by Michael Morpurgo. It opened up lots of discussion about fiction books and non-fiction books and it brought us beautifully on to discussing the illustrations of Ice Bear and talking about Polar bears. This week we are planning and starting to draft our class non-fiction book about Polar Bears. The children are excited and loved logging onto Epic books to read 'Polar bears in danger'. Their writing has improved and their use of descriptive vocabulary to describe how polar bears behave, what they look like and how they develop as cubs to adult polar bears. Well done Year one and twos. 

In Maths, we have been exploring 2D shapes. The year one children can give you excellent definitions of basic 2D shapes i.e. triangles, squares and circles whilst the year two children can do so with more complex 2D shapes such as pentagons, hexagons and octagons. We are talking lots about their properties including edges, faces and vertices. Talk to your child about their shape knowledge and prepare to be surprised on what they know...hopefully! Superb work! We have also begun work on our new 'Can do' add on known as 'Mastering Number'. The children are really enjoying using the rekenreks and these are being backed up at times by the numberblock videos, a lovely series on the BBC that you can access at home. 

In Topic, Under the Sea, we have created fantastic Turneresque Seascapes and are looking into different types of boats and ships and their features this week. We cannot wait for our trip to the Bristol Aquarium next week and we were incredibly lucky to have Philip Bowley visiting the Cygnets and then the Swans to talk to us about his wonderful experiences under the sea. Thank you Mr Bowley for the wonderful set of photographs and bringing in all of your equipment to show us what is needed to be a deep sea diver. The children loved exploring the under water creatures and were mesmerised by your videos!

Please keep up the reading at home and ensure to quiz on Accelerated Reader at school and home. Have a wonderful weekend full of rest, you are all doing amazing!

And in Reception...
Reception has continued telling us All about Me and we have learnt all about our families. We read together Peace at Last by Jill Murphy and discussed Mr Bear, Mrs Bear and Baby Bear. The children chanted the Mr Bear’s wonderful repetitive phrase "Oh no! I can't stand this!" with fabulous expression.  I was amazed and delighted how quickly they memorised the different places that he tried to sleep and the tedious noises that kept him awake. 
We cut paper doll families of our own, showing superb and much-improved scissor skills, and detailed and coloured them to represent our own families. We used our new phonics knowledge of sounds ‘m’ and ‘d’ to write mum and dad and recalled the names of our brothers and sisters.  In Morning Activities, we made loose part pebble families and through the day very much enjoyed the poem, “I have a little brother, his name is Tiny Tim.”
As the weather has turned this week, we have grabbed the chance to look at a new theme - Autumn.  We have scoured the school grounds and nearby hedgerows and have made a display in the Nest showing acornsconkers with their spiky shells, blackberries, apples, coloured leaves of all shapes and sizes and a pumpkin.  We read our first non-fiction/information book, noticing that the sentences gave us lots of facts about Autumn, the pictures were very clear and some were even labelled. We also enjoyed The Leaf Thief by Alice Hemming and Nicola Slater which put Autumn into action as the poor Squirrel found the leaves on his tree were disappearing daily.  It was Bird who explained that it was the wind who was the leaf thief - and, as winter came, it was the snow who took away the grass!  Remembering our Harvest Festival at St Peter’s at the beginning of last week is supporting our learning. 
In Phonics, we can now recognise and write i n p g o and c. The children are spotting initial sounds and applying them to our Autumn treasures: conkers and apples, as well as to our everyday equipment: pencil, paper, scissors and glue. They are getting very quick and will soon be blending. 
We have started Mastering Number in Maths and are subitising at every opportunity. The children are spotting one, two and three dots, showing them on their fingers and describing how they see them on the board. Their expression is superb and I am very excited by watching them grasp this way of understanding number. 
The Morning Activities and Continuous Provision have given lots of fun.  We built with Octoplay shapes and Fixits, curled paper chain caterpillars, played as doctors and teachers, ladled generous spoons of mud kitchen ice cream and thick soup, and emptied the Maths shed to set up a detailed shop display.  
Forest School has been sensational. Last week, were shown the different leaves of trees in Macaroni Woods and foraged the forest floor for them. We matched our findings with the leaves that Sue had laid out for us.  This morning, we thought about the tree trunks - their bredth and their bark. We blindfolded our partners, carefully guided them to a tree to feel, led them back to base and asked them to recognise the tree. I was so impressed by the care the children showed as they led their trusting friends around branches and stumps and forest obstacles. 
And there is always an extra. Today we were visited by Mr Bowley who showed us amazing photos of underwater wrecks, creatures and sea floors that he has filmed. He also demonstrated his diving equipment and let the children ‘have a go’ imagining themselves as under the sea explorers. 

Term 1, Week 2 and 3

The year one and two children have settled beautifully into a learning pattern this week. They are full of enthusiasm and are tackling each learning task with diligence. 

They are enjoying our Under the Sea topic and have been exploring Turner's famous Seascapes and creating their own using watercolours. We are continuing learning how to stay safe online and will make E Safety posters too. 

Year ones have been counting and ordering numbers carefully and Year twos have been making two digit numbers, exploring place value further and ordering numbers from small to greatest. 

In English, the children have been storymapping and creating their own wonderful stories based on 'Tiddler' by Julia Donaldson. They enjoyed picking through the text and spotting the features of this text. 

In RE, we have continued to read a range of parables from the Bible focusing on the key values of forgiveness and kindness to others. We have created a Harvest display and have drawn and written all the wonderful things we are grateful for this Harvest. 

The children are thoroughly enjoying taking part in all of the enhancements and enjoying the outdoors in between lessons. Well done children and parents/ guardians, a wonderful start to the year! 


… and the Nest 

We have had a glorious couple of weeks in the mellow September sunshine. Everyone is now settled and happy and, as Reception, we are already a comfortable, cohesive unit. 

As we are Getting to Know You, we are thinking All About Me.  We have had one week of looking at ourselves and our features and another at our interests, our likes and dislikes. We have each made careful observational pencil drawings of our faces looking into mirrors and will follow these with self-portraits in paint. The children all brought in photos of themselves as babies and have proudly shown the group and used great descriptive language and oracy skills to talk about themselves.  We looked at the children in All about You by Catherine and Laurence Anholt and compared ourselves, and enjoyed fun stories recounting the precocious anecdotes of Simpkin by Quentin Blake and Avocado Baby by John Burningham.  Do You Like by Ruth Mertens encouraged the children to think about what they like and what they like even more - and they have drawn super illustrations.  I am looking forward to talking together about what the children dislike and dislike less.  I rather think that is going to be very expressive...

We have started learning our first sounds using the Read, Write, Inc. phonics scheme. The children are wonderfully quick to spot 'm', 'a', 's', 'd' and 't' as well as to write "Maisie, mountain, mountain" and "slither down the snake".  I am encouraging mark-making at every and any opportunity and we have fun using passcodes and messages on post-its in play. 


A highlight of each week has been Forest School. Last week, the children had a fabulous introduction to Macaroni Woods, Sue and Basecamp and made the most of all that the woodlands offered as they explored and discovered.  This week, we looked at the features of an oak tree.  We were each given three acorns to dig and hide - and then find again after snack.  Do you know, the squirrels are much cleverer than us!  Noone found all three of their acorns!


The mornings start with Fine Motor activities to build manipulative and writing skills. These can relate to the work we are doing, like loose part portraits, or another aspect that I would like to introduce or assess, such as cutting skills.  The children have also threaded beads, made peg boards, sorted numbers to five, copied marks and initial letters and stickered them.  These activities stay on the tables forming part of the day's Continuous Provision. The children are becoming very familiar with the layout out the classroom and the Continuous Provision both inside and out. It is fabulous to watch them interact and intervene, showing and sharing and each building on their own and others' experiences so they are learning exactly as they should.  I will co-play at every opportunity for the comraderie, involvement and the golden momentary chances to slip in next steps and challenges. 


Term 1, Week 1

It has been a very successful start to our new school year and wonderful to see our children return to school; happy and excited to be back. Our new little ones are getting on so well and our classroom is buzzing from morning until afternoon. 

This week, we began our new topic, Under the Sea. The children took a ride on a seaplane and we travelled over the United Kingdom where we found out the names of the different oceans, channels and seas and then managed to discuss them and label them. We also began talking about our personal details and how to keep them safe when online. In RE, we talked about our amazing world and Reception drew their favourite animals and things about our world that they love, year ones and twos explored, the parable, 'The Prodigal Son'. We have got off to a strong start with our reading and phonics and the children have loved reading, story mapping and acting out 'Tiddler', our key text in English. Year ones have thrown themselves into using tens frames and are accurately counting to twenty and back again! Year twos have been using base ten resources to make two digit numbers and are deepening their understanding of place value. An excellent start to the Autumn 1! Well done Cygnets, your teachers are so proud of you and enjoy a well earned rest this weekend. 

And in the Nest..

Reception has hit the ground running! What a fabulous group of children. They all came in for their first day reticent but smiling and by the end of the morning they were beaming, confident and playing to the full. Using sweatshirts passed on from the Year 6s, Mrs Smith makes the most wonderful Southrop teddy bears for the new children. These were handed out after Break. We tied on name tags, read My Friend, Bear by Jez Alborough and enjoyed the rhyme Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear as we cuddled our new bears. What a wonderful start.

We are focusing on Getting to Know You this term. We are all learning about each other. We have enjoyed The Colour Monster and The Colour Monster goes to school and talked about our feelings and emotions and our experiences. The children have coloured monsters, collaged monsters and drawn their own.  

Play is key to the children as they settle in and establish friendships and classroom familiarity. It has been fascinating to watch them choose: role play, construction, playdough, mark making, sand, water, mud kitchen. Their interests and abilities are already apparent but I am sure there is lots more to discover - by us all. I am delighted by the gorgeous group and very excited for the weeks to come.

Newsletter updates - 2021 - 2022

Newsletter updates - 2021 - 2022

Term 6 Week 7

The children have been very busy the last couple of weeks.  We have been to Lemhill Farm and met Farmer George and Millie.  They explored the wildflowers and listen to bird song and they all got the opportunity to climb into the combine harvesters and tractor.  The trip was topped off with a biscuit and drink.  We also went to the Swans play, lots of giggles from the cygnets. Then to top the week off we have had our sports day.

There have been two move up mornings where we welcomed our new reception in and everyone else moved up a year.  The children again rose to the challenge and helped the younger ones where they could.

During lesson time the children have been continuing to learn to tell the time.  We are now down to being able to tell the time to 5 minutes.  Please keep this going over the holiday, they are all so close to being able to do it! The Year 2s have been working with Mr Jones as well for maths focusing on fractions of number.

In English we have been writing poems about the seaside.  They have thought about rhymes, rhythm and repetition.  We have just moved onto looking at fiction text that express feelings. 

Mrs Tipple, Mrs Blackburn and myself would like to say a huge well done to the Cygnets.  This year has been a fabulous one.  We have seen such development in both their learning and in maturity.   The last couple of years have been tricky for all and we are so pleased that everything is feeling a little bit normal for all! We wish you all a very lovely holiday.

… and the Nest

It has been a fun but fragmented fortnight of learning for Reception. The children have had moving up days and been Year 1s while next year's Reception cohort have visited and joined in with the classroom routines.

In English, we have enjoyed Stanley's Stick by John Hegley and Neal Layton.  Stanley picks up a stick and plays with his stick, he has lots of "stick activity" and he gives his stick different names.  We have done the same and the children have been hugely imaginative in their stick ideas and games.  We now have Moosicalstick, Rocketeestick, Chip and Fantastick.  

Outside, in our garden, we have continued to work with sticks and have been patiently whittling green twigs with vegetable peelers.  The flower bed is to become a mud pit for next year's Reception and the children have carefully dug up the bulbs and gently uprooted the plants so that they can be replanted and it is all cleared and prepared. 

We had a kind invitation to re-visit Arthur's puppies to see how they have grown - and they have. They are big and busy and outside in the garden. They are all very different and beautiful and it was delightful to watch, carry and cuddle them. Back in school, it was a super opportunity to talk about how the puppies have changed and to write thank you letters. 

We have been looking for number bonds, subitising and counting carefully playing classic games in Maths, such as Dominoes and Shut the Box.  It has been a great way to show off our learning to each other. As Year 1s, the children spent time in the playground in the sunshine, scribing numbers on the tarmac and jumping along chalked number lines. 

It could not have been a more lovely morning for Sports Day. The sun shone but there was a gentle breeze and the Reception children gave their all to their events. They enjoyed sprinting and long jump, egg and spoon and relay races.  Well done, all of you, for your fabulous effort and your competitive but generous spirit - and a lot of fun. 

Term 6 Week 2


….  the Nest

The sunshine has coincided with a fab fortnight of Mr Gumpy's Outing and exploring capacity, all smattered with play and chat about the number 10.  We have read a glut of wonderful John Burningham stories about journeys - by boat, car and train. We focussed on his trip punting on the river, picking up animals along the way, always with a few words of caution. The clever Reception children predicted a disaster as the boat became overcrowded and, splosh! it capsized. But Mr Gumpy is a kind man and everyone scrambled up the bank, dried off in the sun and walked back to his house for tea - with an invitation to come again.  We made masks for each of the animals and the children independently built a stage set of a river and a long boat, with an amphitheatre of seats (almost) for the Year 1s and 2s to watch their show - having issued carefully scribed invitations to each one. The children learnt the story and recorded it as story maps to retell and act out. They were a bossy group of directors and I was given the part of Mr Gumpy.  I had very little else to contribute or organise. The show was much enjoyed - perhaps rather more by the aspiring actors than the patient audience. Thank you to all.


We started capacity by pouring cupfuls of rice in the classroom ensuring containers were full, half full, empty or, even half empty.  But as the sun shone, we went outside and estimated how many bottles might fill the water tray.  We guessed 20 and, remarkably, we sloshed 20 - keeping tally as we went.  Then it was fabulous play - making recycled boats: whose could hold the most marbles? float or sink? testing a selection of classroom objects, and balancing drain pipes to effectively tip and pour.  Of course, there was lots of wet but lots of opportunity to dry off as well. And lots of learning on which side of the water tray to start and stand.  


Today is our big day out at Blenheim Park.  We are visiting the Walled Garden on the miniature train with the Butterfly House, Hedge Maze and Adventure Playground.  It will be hot but we will be prepared and it is just the full-on summer end-of-term jolly that my amazing little group so deserve.  I am delighted to be spending the day out with them :-).

Term 5, Week 5 

An excellent two weeks in Maths, in Year 1, the children have been exploring number facts up to 18. In Year 2, we have been working on reading scales to measure mass in a range of contexts. The parents, children and the majority of the school community have been eagerly popping in to our classroom to watch our caterpillars on their journey of transformation. Our caterpillars have shed their skin and have formed a chrysalis and will be going home with the capable Reception children today for half term. We cannot wait to find out how they get on.

Last week the Year 3 children and some other children joined us in the Cygnets. We visited Sevington Victorian School in Wiltshire last Wednesday. We had a fantastic day and felt like we really stepped back in time to 1897. We cannot wait to share what we learned at our Show n Share today. Thankfully Miss Squire didn't have to use her cane or Dunce hat! We also made Ferris Wheels linking back to Victorian times when Fairgrounds became quite popular. Our Ferris wheels spin and have rotating pods. The children did a fantastic job of working as a team and researching, designing, making their Ferris wheels. 

This week, we have been busy learning all about Queen Elizabeth II and today we will be making afternoon tea at Kitchen Club run by Melanie and Anna. We look forward to seeing you later for our Jubilee party. 

…. and the Nest

Having planted sets of runner beans, Reception have enjoyed stories in anticipation of the shoots and growth of their plants. Jasper's Beanstalk by Nick Butterworth showed us that our little seeds are very resilient and with hard work and against all odds, our efforts will pay.  We were also able to revise the days of the week and consider length in Mick Inkpen's wonderful illustrations. The classic tale of Jack and the Beanstalk gave a magical twist to the growth of the beans - just as ours started to sprout. We very much enjoyed the giant's booming refrain and the wit of Jack as he clambered away with golden coins, eggs and the harp. We experimented with blue and yellow paint to make different greens and embellish lots and lots of loo rolls and paper leaves to thread our own beanstalk. Over night it grew! There is a glorious beanstalk that twists and turns and crawls up and over the ceiling of the Nest. Meanwhile, the sun and rain have germinated our pods and we will be taking home crops for planting over half term. 

This week has been devoted to HRH Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen's Knickers introduced us to the magnitude of her role, the range of events she attends and consideration she gives each one - even down to her choice of knickers. We each designed a pair of knickers that the Queen might wear were she to visit us for our tea party at Southrop. The children chose decorations of swans, daffodils, orange and purple stripes and flowers. We also looked at The Queen's Hat and followed her chase with the wind across the sites of London. The children have taken every opportunity to dress up and have embellished their favourite frocks and superman suits with strings of pearls, diamond necklaces and brackets that sparkle and shine. It has been interesting how their deportment has complimented their grand attire as they assume new roles. We have bejewelled our own crowns, coloured Union Jacks and anticipate a splendid day of cookery and preparation for the Jubilee Tea Party this afternoon. 

Within the frenzy of our weeks has been the calm and order of Forest School. The children have had two sessions of observational drawing where they have stopped and looked and looked - and looked again. They collected small woodland items (this time they were allowed to pick) and drew them. But then they compared their sketches and the objects to notice the precise details - five petals not twelve, feathery leaves not round, spots on the stones not smooth. And yesterday we pondered one of the woodland oak trees and noticed that it was actually lots of Y shapes, heavy with leaf and its bark was rough and knobbled. I was delighted by the expression, concentration and careful pencil work. Both the children’s descriptions and their drawings were superb. 

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.