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Early Years

RECEPTION


Our Reception teachers create a warm, safe and welcoming environment in the classrooms in which the children feel they can grow and develop independence, confidence and show courage when learning from their own mistakes. Thomson House School believes in learning through laughter and we know that learning is more memorable when children are having fun.


Communication, Language and Literacy (including Reading and Writing)

Our thematic approach to learning at Thomson House School is followed across the whole curriculum in EYFS. In Reception we use high quality texts which link to topics being studied and we encourage role play and imaginative play to stimulate communication, expand vocabulary and provide plenty of writing opportunities.  The Reception classes are language rich environments which extend children’s spoken and written vocabulary. Children are encouraged to speak in front of the class (through Show and Tell; Weekly News; PSHE circle times) to develop confidence, listening skills and questioning skills.

The children are taught the foundations of reading and writing in Reception. We use a multi-sensory approach to teaching synthetic phonics. Daily phonics sessions are taught which follow the programme ‘Letters and Sounds’. A session is a 20-minute structured lesson, where the children have the opportunity to practise speaking, reading and writing.

 ‘Letters and Sounds’ is split into 6 phases.  Phases 2-3 are expected to be taught in Reception. However many of our children move on to phase 4 and even phase 5 when they are ready. At each phase children are taught to recognise individual, digraph and trigraph sounds. In phonic sessions children are taught to recognise letters, understand the sound they make and then blend them together to create words. Some words, which cannot be phonetically sounded out, are taught at each phase. These are ‘tricky words’ and are taught through sight recognition.

For more information on ‘Letters and Sounds’ and the phonics phases please click on the link below: http://www.letters-and-sounds.com/what-is-letters-and-sounds.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J2Ddf_0Om8 – can help with pronunciation.

Handwriting - The children are encouraged to write as often as possible. Fine motor skills are developed using activities such as:

  • Play dough

  • Weaving

  • Threading

  • Using tweezers

  • Finger painting/mark making

  • Cutting and sticking

  • Lego

  • Peg boards

  • Stencilling

We follow programmes such as ‘Dough Disco’ and ‘Write from the Start’ to help children develop muscles which will allow them better control of the pencil. Children are given ample opportunity to practise writing and in particular to write independently for a variety of purposes.

 

Maths – Number & Shape, Space and Measure

At Thomson House School we use a variety of strategies to teach numbers - in rhymes, stories, songs and other activities. Imaginative play is encouraged to include counting, money, sharing, weighing and measuring. We use child friendly resources such as Numicon to help children understand place value, properties of number, number operations and investigations.

Much of our number work in Reception is oral at Thomson House School. Children begin to develop an ability to reason and explain how they arrived at an answer. They are encouraged to debate the merits of different strategies used.

The children are encouraged to use thinking skills to solve problems. The teachers will guide the children towards solving the problems for themselves. We like to see children using independent thought, however much of our learning is also collaborative and we encourage children to work with each other to find a solution to a problem. Above all, children are encouraged to be curious about numbers and to have fun exploring our numerical world!

 

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

At Thomson House we excel at developing children’s confidence and building self-esteem.  Children are encouraged to live out the school’s values of kindness, curiosity and courage. All staff model these values and expect the children to do so too. We place high worth on manners, respect for each other and themselves, friendship, caring and sharing. Our ‘free-flow’ sessions during the day allow time for the children to learn through play with each other, socialising and learning empathy.

Every week each class invites two children to bring something in from home to ‘Show and Tell’. A further two children are asked to share some ‘Weekly News’ with the class. This helps to develop listening skills, questioning skills for the audience and self-confidence for the speaker.

In assemblies, examples of outstanding work and behaviour are rewarded with the ‘Lion d’Or’ stickers – which children wear with pride and pleasure. The Head Teacher’s Green Teddy is awarded each week to one child who has shown kindness, curiosity or courage during their learning.

 

Physical Development

At Thomson House School we strongly believe that healthy bodies work in tandem with healthy minds. We therefore offer a greater amount of curriculum time than most maintained schools to Physical Development to children in Reception every week.

The children love to be active and interactive. We have an outdoor learning space which encourages exploration and collaborative working. We particularly encourage outdoor learning which might include going on a ‘Number Hunt’ for example, in the local area.

On the field, team games are led by our specialist sports teacher which the children find fun, which encourages competition and which gives children an opportunity to learn about winning and losing. Specific skills are taught to develop children’s co-ordination, control, ball skills and gross motor movement.

Children are encouraged to climb, run, balance, move with control and show an awareness of space every break time – at play in the playground and on Mortlake Green which we use when larger spaces are required.

 

Understanding the World

Topics are based on child led interests to ensure that the children at Thomson House School have ample opportunity to expand their knowledge and understanding of the world around us.

In addition, we have a themed week once every term which allows the learning to go ‘off curriculum’ and is directed towards an area of interest for the children. These themed weeks will change each year, but an example of one would be ‘Arts Week’ in June 2014 which we linked to Brazil and the 2014 World Cup. The children learnt how to Samba; how to play Brazilian drums; they designed their own football shirts; they played in their own ‘World Cup Football Tournament’; they designed and made headdresses and masks for a carnival and they sang South American songs. The children also raised money for the Street Child charity.

Thomson House strives to maintain strong links with the community in which it is placed – the children perform regularly in front of community audiences; they are encouraged to raise money for local community projects and they use every opportunity to be seen learning ‘out and about’.

Technology is part of our learning journey and it starts in Reception. The children are introduced to iPads in Reception and software such as Purple Mash and age appropriate software.

 

Expressive Arts and Design

 

At Thomson House School we love the children to be creative and challenged in the Arts. The children in Reception have 2 music lessons per week, plus a singing assembly. They sing each week in our Friday celebratory assembly, accompanied by our specialist music teacher. Through music they learn to express themselves using their voices, bodies and percussion instruments. Linking in with classroom topics as much as possible they will learn about basic elements of music, including: dynamics, developing a steady beat, fast and slow, high and low and exploring senses and emotions.

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Art is strongly valued at Thomson House. All children love to explore different mediums – in Reception we teach papier-mache, modelling, sculpture, painting, sketching and printing. The children use their own knowledge of the world, coupled with observations, to design and create. The children can also use technology and a variety of software packages to create different artistic effects.