Reception/ Year 1
Class Teacher: Mrs Gemma Lewis, BA International Business Management, Diplombetriebswirtin, PGCE
Teaching Assistants: Mrs Natasha Eggleton, Miss Amee Freeman, Miss Jessica Bailey
Welcome to the newly-formed Da Vinci class. As a staff, we feel privileged to be assuming responsibility for developing the youngest minds at Blewbury School; and we have already set about creating a happy, purposeful learning environment, in which our children feel a sense of belonging and able to give their best.
The Da Vinci teaching team are guided by the principle that every child is unique. We understand difference; however, rather than grouping children according to ability, we set the highest targets for all and determine through observation of each child how best to get them there. This means: 1) taking advantage of every moment during the school day to offer additional support; and 2) equipping children with the right resources according to their learning style. There is a purposeful energy that sweeps us along.
Our complementary blend of structured planning and in-the-moment planning (where adult enablers sympathetically enhance a child's learning in the moment of the child's independent pursuits) allows for as much active learning as possible - singing, drama, P.E. and the great outdoors are routinely used as methods of teaching and are particularly useful to help children retain information in the core areas of English, Mathematics and Science.
Our class webpage serves to involve you in your child's learning and development. Herein, you will find half-termly reviews of our adventures; copies of letters; staff presentations; an overview of learning for the term ahead; and ideas for supporting learning at home.
Reflecting on time spent with your wonderful children must be one of my favourite activities as a teacher: your children are an inspiration and to consider all that they bring to life is very heart-warming and uplifting. This year’s Da Vinci Class is possibly the most dynamic of groups that I have ever taught: each individual brings a distinct set of qualities; collectively, they have a super energy that suggests a true zest for life. This bodes well for our themed outcome, the Superhero Show – invitation below.
The children have covered much ground during the first half-term: after a period of familiarisation (with one another and the school environment), which facilitated confidence and independence, we have focused on laying strong foundations in Literacy and Maths. Our theme, ‘What is my Superpower?’, has served to develop self-esteem, a healthy and safe lifestyle and an understanding of the importance of being kind to yourself and those around you. Every day, the children engage in small interactions, and we have focused on the impact that we have in these: we possess the extraordinary power to influence others positively or negatively – a superpower, indeed. As exciting as it is to consider Captain America, Wonder Woman and the like, the children understand that you do not need to be superhuman, wear a cape or have a power-yielding device to have a superpower: you just need to be human and use your natural strengths for good. Simply, we aim to …
Julia Donaldson’s story of Superworm has been the source of inspiration for much of our learning. We have thrown ourselves into retelling the story through Drama, Music and Echoing (where the children repeat phrases that the teacher says, with the same intonation) and have used our efforts to progress our competence in writing to formally put pencil to paper in our smart Writing books. There is a genuine fondness for stories: the children have listened attentively and engaged in discussion and actions, empowering them to better understand and gain insight. At times, I have been amazed by the maturity of insight and comment.
Each child has made a ‘Super Me’ booklet to reflect their ASTOUNDING understanding of how to be healthy: from the obvious “eat well”, to the inspired “protect your body from the weather”. In association, the children considered food groups (recalling these and their benefits through rhythmic chants), made superfood pizzas, tasted a variety of different fruits and learned to sing their way to clean hands. One way of learning about their supersenses has been to act out various stories – imagine it is summer, you are lying on a beach, you feel the hot sunshine on your skin, you hear seagulls and the sound of children playing, then a smell enters your nose and your receptors and brain work together to tell you there are fish and chips being cooked nearby; your eyes guide you there and you taste the saltiness of the chips and the sourness of the vinegary fish!
P.E sessions have been a lot of fun. Each session has comprised warm-up and cool down exercises to keep our bodies super - ask your child how to knock a knight off its horse! Thinking ahead to future participation in traditional team sports, we have learned much about ball control, developing skills in throwing/ catching, dribbling and ball retention - there were whoops of delight when we watched some World Cup rugby players demonstrate the latter. Learning to dodge has also been a focus; the children have certainly loved playing Shark – an interpretation of Bulldogs. We have tackled obstacle courses and danced non-stop to some high-energy songs. We apologise to Banksy for the noise and promise that our next challenge will be somewhat more subdued – gymnastics.
The highlight of our final week of term, and the hook into the world of minibeasts, was the trip that we shared with Goldsworthy to Sutton Courtenay’s Education Centre. We explored a range of habitats, discovered minibeasts of the water and of the land and began to consider the superpowers that minibeasts possess. Over the weeks ahead, we shall also continue to think about our superselves, develop skills in Art, DT and Mapping, consider those that help us (Didcot Fire Service shall be sharing their superpowers during the first week back), and explore the story of Christmas. welcome you to one of our open class sessions on 12th November, a time for you to look at your child’s work – details to be sent to you via the School Office; and , of course, to our Superhero Show.
Please continue to support your child with daily reading and their home learning challenges: we really do see a difference in progress when each child is engaged in their learning at home and at school. Little and often is best. Please do speak to me if you need some help motivating your child.
With best wishes to you all, and on behalf of the Da Vinci team,
Da Vinci Class and Carpet (Imagination Base) Contract ...
Autumn Term Overviews: Reception and Year 1, 2019 ...
The following websites offer guidance on ...
Reading with your child
Pronunciation of sounds