Return to Year Group Blogs


  • This week in Reception

    What busy little bees we have been in Reception this week! We started the week off by celebrating World Bee Day. We learned some interesting facts about bees – even some of the grown ups learned new things too! Then we set off to create some painted bees. We had to use our fine motor skills and patience to carefully create these bee-utiful slate bumblebees! We considered the colours and patterns that are found on many bees. Did you know – some bees can be red and black in colour?!

    Some of us continued our learning about bees outside and made our very own hives that we decorated with honeycomb shapes – we learned that this shape is called a hexagon because it has six sides! We also wanted to take care of the bees in our environment and creatively used the ‘Bee Cafe’ to make some tea for the bees. We added grass and flowers to the teapot before mixing and pouring it out carefully which meant we were practising our fine motor skills even more!

    During Literacy this week, we have had a lot of fun making our own books linked to the text we have been learning – Stuck in the Mud by Pie Corbett. We had so much fun when we made our Mr Gumpy books that we decided to use these skills to make improvements to our work this time round! What do you think of our writing? We tried really hard to form all of our letters correctly, use finger spaces and remember a full stop. Ask us to teach you the song we sing to help us check our work – it is very catchy!

    In Maths this week, we have been doing a round up of all the learning we have done so far in Reception. We have done really well at remembering our learning from our two and a half terms in Reception and our grown ups are very proud of us. We have been continuing repeating patterns, finding missing numbers that have fallen off of a number track, discussing groups of objects that show ‘more’ or ‘fewer’ and even been making comparisons between objects that are taller, shorter or longer. We had a lot of fun hunting around the classroom for things that were taller than us and smaller than a glue stick – ask us what we found!

    Phonics this week has been a recap of all of the sounds we have learned over the last term. We have been using this brilliant knowledge to help us with our independent writing. To help us get even better with our reading and writing, we have had an extra fun challenge this week – we have been hunting all around the classroom for harder to read and spell words. Some of us even wrote out some extra words for our friends to find! We enjoyed this so much that we asked the grown ups to make more for us too.

    With the weather changing this week, we have been talking lots about staying safe in the sun and lots of us had a go at making our own sunglasses. We had to use very careful cutting skills to create the space for the lenses and then used coloured cellophane to make the lenses. We had a lot of fun making these and enjoyed trying them out around the classroom. Some of us also enjoyed a sorting activity and were able to discuss other ways to keep us safe in the sun. “Sun cream stops our skin from burning and you have to drink lots of water”

    This week’s nursery rhyme has been Ten Fat Sausages


    How you can help at home:

    • Practise the harder to read and spell words with your child – play as many games as possible as this is a really great way to help the learning stick
    • Look for ways to learn about measures and make comparisons with things around your home – who has the most chips left on their plate? How much more milk do we need for our porridge? I notice that the door is taller than us. Challenge your child to find something taller or shorter than a given object.
    • Talk about road safety and practise safely crossing the road when out and about
    • Discuss ways to stay safe in the sun


  • This Week in Reception

    Fiddly Fingers

    In Fiddly Fingers we “offer children activities to develop and further refine their small motor skills” (Development Matters, 2023) such as “threading and sewing, playing with small world toys, and making models with junk materials, construction kits and malleable materials like clay.” We have also practised number formation and drawing following steps in the correct number order.


    This week the children are innovating our Stuck in the Mud story from last week. Some of the ideas we came up with were ‘Stuck in the Ice’, ‘Stuck in the Puddle’, ‘Stuck in the Quicksand’, ‘Stuck in the Soil’. In Elephants, we voted altogether and ‘Stuck in the Snow’ was the winner! We then changed the animals in the story to animals which “make sense for the cold” such as arctic foxes and reindeer. We drew the speech bubbles and new characters on our whiteboards. We have been writing our harder to read and spell words on paper and playing games in Explore time.


    We are working on applying our known sounds to our writing this week. We are writing words and  sentences more and more independently. We can discuss capital letters, finger spaces and full stops as we begin to get ready for Year 1. We are starting to apply them in our Explore time when creating and book-making.


    We have been focusing on our Number bonds to 10 and using a number track. We have been following the Golden Rules and working collaboratively in partners and teams to use our number tracks. We are rolling dice and jumping ahead correctly. We can show this using two different coloured pencils on a tens frame.

    Road Safety Week

    This week we met a very special Super Cat friend with amazing senses of sight and hearing. He taught us to STOP, LOOK, LISTEN AND THINK when we cross the road. We have been using this learning outside in our Explore time. We drew Zebra crossings, pelican crossings and traffic lights and discussed the importance of waiting for the green man to cross safely. We are being active in the sun and “Encouraging children to be highly active and get out of breath several times every day.” (Development Matters, 2023), especially by using a variety of bikes and trikes. They allow “children to balance, sit or ride on, or pull and push. Two-wheeled balance bikes and pedal bikes without stabilisers, skateboards, wheelbarrows, prams and carts are all good options.” (Development Matters, 2023)

    Nursery Rhyme of the week:

    10 Green Bottles

    How you can help at home (when you try these challenges or do an activity you’d like to share, please add a photo to tapestry so we can celebrate the learning taking place at home):

    Use chalk outside and draw a number track on the ground from 0-20. Extend by counting verbally 0-30. This will expose children to ‘teen’ numbers 10-20.  Keep looking at numbers 0-20 so children “become familiar with two-digit numbers and can start to spot patterns within them.” (Development Matters) Play hop scotch with numbers 0-20- how big can you make your hop scotch? Use the pavement outside!

    Play hide and seek and count to 20/ 30 while waiting for the other person to hide. Start with 20 then extend to 30 if successful.

    Ask your child to write a sentence of 5 words and send the message to someone else in your family. Encourage them to use finger spaces in between each word so it can be read, both by your child and by others. Once they have done this they might like to send a message in a bottle.

  • This week in Reception



    This week we have started to learn a new story called ‘Stuck in the Mud’, where poor Daisy the cow is stuck and Farmer Tom is asking the other farm animals for help to pull her out!  This is not from a book but a Talk for Writing original, written by Pie Corbett. The children soon began to join in using story language and the associated actions. One of the Literacy activities this week was correctly sequencing the order the  animals helped  in the story. 

    Here we are using a tuff tray of the characters in the story to sequence the order. Then we had a go at a shared writing activity and the children became very carried away. They collected chairs and resources to make an outdoor classroom and practised their sentence writing. Finally they made the story come alive by acting it out. The children enjoyed this so much they continued by taking on the role of teachers and pupils for a considerable amount of time.

    Maths– Composition of numbers 6-10

    Our key sentence this week has been ‘If you rearrange the objects in a group, the total stays the same’. The children have been exploring the composition of numbers 6-10 using the ‘5 and a bit’ structure. We have been practising using our hands and  ‘finger representations’. The children have also been using tens frames and double dice frames to visualise what these numbers look like.

    The children have enjoyed various activities to help them develop this knowledge; making 10 with double sided counters on a tens frame then recording, making Numicon sandwiches- working out which two numbers go together to make 10, playing ‘grab 10’ seeing if they can grab 10 sorting toys and if they don’t have enough, how many more do they need? Lastly playing ‘guess my number’ on tens frames outside with large spots.


    Sun Safety Week

    This week is Sun Safety Week and we have been talking about how we stay safe in the sun. Some children have brought in sun hats and all children knew about the importance of wearing sun cream in the sun. Here the children are making their own sun safety posters.

    We have also been getting back to nature in our forest lesson. We have been hugging a tree and making pictures using the natural items we found on the forest floor.


    How you can help at home:

    Please practise our Nursery Rhyme which links in well to our Maths this week:
     There were ten in a bed (add link).

    Do talk about number pairs that go together to make 10.

    Also please continue with daily reading and practise of sounds/HRSW- we are seeing some great progress!

    Many thanks. Wishing you all a very happy weekend ahead,

    The Reception Team. 


  • This week in Reception


    This week Zebras and Elephants have been inventing their own stories based on ‘Mr Gumpy’s Outing’ by John Burningham. We have learned how to design a front cover that is colourful and attractive to readers. We also know that an author is a person that “writes the book” and the illustrator is a person that “draws the pictures”.  We have been developing our learning further during child initiated learning time and have done some independent writing all about Mr Gumpy  in the small world area.  Look at our fantastic tripod grip and FINGERSPACES! Some of us also enjoyed working as a team!


    This week our learning in maths has been all about exploring and finding different ways to show number bonds for numbers within 10. We have been singing ‘5 Little kittens jumping on the bed’ as part of our learning. Ask your child to demonstrate how singing songs can really help to embed their learning!

    Fiddly fingers

    More fun learning and collaboration linked to our literacy work!

    Child initiated learning time

    With the nicer weather approaching, we have had more fantastic learning opportunities outside. We have seen so much collaboration and independence this week from all of the children in Reception! We are excited to have the potions area back up and running so that we can make all our imaginative creations, whilst practising our fine motor skills using different tools.

    Many of the children have been demonstrating their ability to follow our golden rules by looking after property and being helpful. They have been busy spring cleaning our outside garden area, using paintbrushes to ‘wash’ the windows and dirty equipment. They were busy for a long time doing this, working so hard together to make our environment look tidy again!

    Following on from our learning about St George’s Day last week, some children have been using their creativity to design and make a family crest or shield. We talked lots about what and how we wanted to represent our family, thinking carefully about the colours and material choices we made. A few children even took on the challenge of making a handle to hold their shield – they showed great determination when exploring which materials worked best!


    This has been another week to review all the learning we have done so far this year. We are practising the phonemes we have learned by applying them independently to our reading and writing. We are having a big focus on keeping our letters on the line, using finger spaces and trying hard to keep our writing a similar size. Look out for some fantastic examples of this over the next few weeks!

    How you can help at home:

    • Reading and playing games with your child
    • Practical everyday maths – shopping, cooking etc
    • Helping to prepare your child for transition and encourage more independence by getting changed by themselves, cutting up their own food, looking after their belongings
    • Ensure you regularly go through the harder to read and spell words
  • This week in Reception


    Here is our Curiosity Cuboid:

    We are thinking about pollution in the sea and the effect of it on sea animals. The children have been looking at the cuboid and comparing the items inside considering which things should be in the sea and which should not.


    In Literacy we have continued to learn the story of Mr Gumpy. We have worked  with our friends to sequence the map of the story and to draw and label the characters.

    Physical Development

    We have been making the most of the warmer weather in The Reception Garden. Here we are practising our gross motor skills on the play equipment and our pattern formation in the malleable area.


    This week we are learning to continue to develop our subitising skills in increasingly complex arrangements. Some arrangements are easier to subitise than others eg. A set of six dots arranged in a structured dice pattern that exposes the double-3 pattern is easier to recognise than a random arrangement of 6 dots.

    Here we are outside completing tens frames to show different ways we can represent 6.


    We are continuing to enjoy our weekly trips to our lovely library. Here we are selecting our books to take home and chatting about ones we have borrowed before with our friends.

    How you can help at home

    Please continue to practise the harder to read and spell words below. Remind your child that phonics will not help with these words. They must recognise them by sight. Practise by placing them up the stairs and your child has to read the word before they can move up a step.





    See if you can spot them in reading books as you read at home.

  • April – Month of the Military Child

    April is the Month of the Military Child and each year we love taking the time to celebrate our military children here at Merry Hill. Service children can face challenges with parents in the armed forces. Yet these children are also an amazing asset to families, schools and the local community. The Month of the Military Child helps us remember this and helps us celebrate their achievements.


    Did you know the official flower of the military child is the dandelion because its seeds are blown far and wide by the wind but it will always plant roots and blossom wherever it lands?


    The children celebrate ‘Purple Up Day’ every April; purple is a colour used to represent all military services and shows unity with each other. This day is to celebrate the wonderful contributions our military children make to our community, bringing experiences from around the world. We celebrate our military children and thank them for their service.

    Purple Up Day at Merry Hill this year is on Friday 26th April –  Please can all children come to school wearing a purple accessory on this day such as a hair ribbon, socks, cardigan or t-shirt.

  • This week in Reception

    This week in Reception we welcomed the children back to school after the Easter holiday.

    The children have all been really happy to be reunited with their friends and adults and very quickly reacquainted themselves with the environment. In Literacy we have a new story: Mr Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham. Mr Gumpy links in really well at this time of year, as it is a journey story. Lots of children also went on journeys in the holiday. Elephants and Zebras have been writing sentences to share where they went! The children are in the process of learning the story orally, using their bodies to create actions to match certain words and acting out the story in Explore Time. Mr Gumpy’s Boat (aka Miss Bates’ laundry basket) has been all around the world lots of times already!,vid:h23yQOafu4Y,st:0


    In Maths we are focusing on the key sentence, ‘When counting we point to each object one at a time and say its number name’. Elephants and Zebras have been doing lots of counting activities to independently put this into practise. We had lots of fun counting each other! Some strategies we have learnt involve moving the children, e.g. asking everyone to stand up and then to sit down as they are counted; moving children from one side of the room to the other as they are counted; and lining the children up and counting along the line.

    We decided that lining objects up was a good way to ‘see’ the number.

    Here is some of our maths from this week:

    Nursery Rhyme of the week:

    Five Little Monkeys Swinging From a Tree

    How to help at home:

    Count objects one at a time and say its number name. Emphasise what’s being counted using a counting wand, stick or feather. Include errors for your child to spot e.g. saying the number words in the wrong order, forgetting to stop and going around again; and not knowing how many there are ‘altogether’.

    Practise sounding, blending and recognising harder to read and spell words by sight.

    Draw a journey you have been on as a family, paying attention to the start and finish as well as landmarks seen along the way then colour it in.

    Make an animal poster with one of the animals from the story: rabbit, cat, dog,sheep, cow, chicken, goat.

  • This week in Reception…..

    Wow! What another busy week we have had! We have continued our learning about Handa’s Surprise but this week we have innovated our own ideas. We began by changing the main character and fruits in the story. What do you think of our ideas? We tried really hard to use our phonics independently to write the names of the fruit and some of us even had a go at writing describing words too!

    We would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to our amazing Friends of Merry Hill for organising a fantastic Easter egg hunt for us. We had great fun taking part in it and loved our delicious treats too! THANK YOU!

    During explore time, we had a lot of fun practising our fine motor skills by making Easter baskets. We had to work really carefully to cut around the net template and then glue it together before filling it up to gift to our family.

    Our outside role play is currently set up as a garden centre and we are enjoying selling flowers to the adults. This links well to our inside investigation area where we have planted a variety of seeds and are watching them grow and develop into little seedlings before hopefully some delicious herbs!

    We are also practising our fine motor skills as we wrap the flowers and carefully tape them closed, as well as learning about money. We have been sharing out the money with our friends and some of the children have even been able to work out the change for the customer!

    Song spoons and nursery rhyme of the week:

    The song spoons have proved popular this week – we have enjoyed using them to sing some of our favourite rhymes with our friends and have even been putting on shows! The nursery rhyme for this week is One, Two, Buckle my Shoe. We have practised singing the words and also listened carefully to notice the rhyming words. Maybe you could have a go at thinking of your own rhyming words at home.

    This week we have been revisiting all of the sounds we have learned so far this term and our grown ups are very impressed by how many we have remembered, as well as us using them independently when trying to read unfamiliar words or even in our writing!

    The harder to read and spell words we have learned this week are: children, love


    How you can help at home:

    • Practise the harder to read and spell words daily
    • Read every day with your child – maybe visit the library for some new books
    • Complete a ‘Wow’ card for your child to share with their friends at school
    • Encourage your child to write in a variety of contexts – shopping lists, packing lists for going on holiday, birthday cards, book making, postcards, book marks for friends and family




  • This week in Reception

    This week we have started a new story called Handa’s Surprise.

    We have started to explore the story further in Child Initiated Learning and have been doing some fantastic writing in our purple books.  We will keep you posted so keep an eye out for more amazing story writing soon! Here we are in explore time trying out the new Handa Surprise masks and persevering to hang them up by ourselves in the storytelling area. When asked ‘how do you feel about the new story?’ some of the children said “in the green zone because we feel happy and excited!” We have been learning the new story, generating new story ideas and writing harder to read and spell words ‘she’, ‘will’ ‘like’, ‘the’ etc.

    We have a bowl of fruit from the story which we got to see and discuss- the ripe, red mango, the yellow prickly pineapple, the creamy green avocado etc. (Miss Bates sadly couldn’t get a guava in Sainsburys so one of the girls cleverly made a yellow guava out of lego for the fruit bowl! Great thinking!)


    Fiddly Fingers: 

    The children have been using our soft start in the mornings between 8:45 and 9am to continue their Fiddly Finger learning which helps develop fine motor skills and supports the children’s writing skills.

    Threading and manipulating play doh has really helped to develop and strengthen the muscles in their hands.

    The children have been identifying numerals then using play doh to add the correct number of apples into a tree as well as onto a tens frame.

    The children have also been learning to problem solve and colour in between the lines when doing a Safari Colour by numbers scene.

    The children have been counting pictures from Handa’s Surprise and forming numerals themselves using a secure tripod grip to hold their pencil.

    The children have been doing a smashing job of putting their activities away in their folders, filing them independently into their colour groups before sitting to take the register at 9am.

    Our new harder to read and spell words learnt in Phonics this week are ‘one’, ‘out’ and ‘little’.

    Our Nursery rhyme of the week has been ‘One Tomato, Two Tomatoes’-

    How You Can Help At Home:

    • Daily reading and writing in your child’s orange reading record
    • Singing the nursery rhyme of the week
    • Encouraging your child to write or draw the story map for the new story at home
    • Discuss “doubles” and use different representations of doubles including fingers, toys, items in the kitchen
    • Observe changes in the seasons as we transition from Winter to Spring- finally!
  • This week in Reception

    Spring has sprung!
    Here is our Curiosity Cuboid ready for Easter. The children have enjoyed looking at it and spotting the signs of Easter.

    Understanding the World

    The children have been helping us to plant some seeds in the investigation area. They will be eagerly observing changes over time.


    We have begun our Jungle Gym gymnastic lessons. To begin with, we started moving around the hall like a jungle animal. Here you can see our orangutan and panda moves. Next we put our moves to music. Each time the music stopped we climbed onto some equipment and went to sleep. Next week we will be adding our animal moves to different pieces of gym equipment.

    Literacy – Owl Babies

    This week we are innovating the story. The children are now much more confident retelling the original story so the next stage is to change elements of it. As a class we talked about where the baby owls thought their mother had gone e.g hunting for food or they were worried that a fox had got her. In talk partners the children discussed their own ideas of where the owl mother had gone. There were some great suggestions such as going to the toy shop to get an owl-teddy, to the cinema to watch a film or that a shark had got her! We really enjoyed innovating ‘Owl Babies’ together. 

    Phonics review

    We are reviewing all the phonemes we have learned so far and learning some harder to read and spell words.

    This week the words we are learning are:





    Please challenge your child to use the words in a sentence and identify them in their reading books. Please remind your child that phonics will not help them to read these words. They need to recognise them by sight.

    How you can help at home:

    Our Nursery Rhyme this week is “One man went to mow.” Join in with it here:


    The Reception Team 

  • This week in Reception….

    We had some lovely interactions with the baby chicks that hatched in Nursery and this also ties in nicely with our Owl Babies learning in Literacy. We have been excitedly following a live video of the chicks in action during our explore time! We think they are very cute!

    This week we have been using different tools to prepare our own snacks. We have used knives to carefully cut into cucumber, watermelon and some of us even tried to cut apples! (Use one-handed tools and equipment, for example, making snips in paper with scissors – Development matters – 2021)

    As spring approaches, we have been thinking about the signs we might see when out and about. We spoke about the beginning of plants growing and had a go at painting daffodils using watercolour paints. We have also been  planting sunflower seeds – we are looking forward to seeing how tall they can grow!

    World Book Day!

    In Reception we read two stories and focused our learning around them for the day. and  In the morning, we made menus for a restaurant that cooks food with only one colour and then made the food in the construction area to open a food shop.

    We loved receiving photos of you reading in unsual places and had a great day sharing everyone’s favourite books! How fantastic do we we look!

    How you can help at home:

    Continue to read daily at home

    Practise the harder to read and spell words with your child – play games to make this fun

    Gardening – discuss changes to the natural world

    Get your child involved in helping around the house – cooking, cleaning, washing up


  • This week in Reception

    What have we been up to this week?

    Owl Babies

    Some new friends have come to visit us this week in Reception! They are called Sarah, Percy and Bill! Like us, these owl babies sometimes miss their mummy. This is a book which can help reassure children after a half term break, that they will see Mummy again and supports  resilience during the school day.  We have been sequencing the story into a story mountain using our talk for writing colours- green for the beginning, orange for the middle and red for the ending. We used words like ‘first’, ‘next’ and ‘finally’ to emphasise which part was the beginning, middle and end.

    Maths and turn taking

    In explore time, we have been using a simple 0-10 number track to play games with a partner. We have been using our subitising skills to roll a dice and move our counter along the number track the correct amount of times according to the dice. We have had quality discussions about how it feels to both win and lose. To help us remember die patterns we have been using play doh to make them in Fiddly Fingers!

    Half Term Holiday Snapshots

    “Play is a key opportunity for children to think  creatively and flexibly, solve problems and link ideas. Establish the enabling conditions for rich play: space, time, flexible resources, choice.” Development Matters, 2023

    One child initiated learning choice has been to share what the children got up to on their half term holiday! We used the small world tuff tray outside to enact some events from the past. We talked about places in the local area of Bushey like King George park, the local library, Bushey station, Asda and Costco! If the children struggled to remember, we used a a snapshot sheet to recall some of the places we went, things we ate and who we were with. It was such fun watching some of the children act out play dates they want to go on in the future too!

    Self- care and Food

    We have been preparing and cutting food to make healthy choices. We have washed our hands, rinsed the snack and cut it safely using cutlery before eating. We have shared the equipment and posted our snack pictures into the snack box after to show we have had snack. Then if any children are left we know who to remind to eat snack!

    Recapping how to use the Worry Monster

    Our Reception Worry Monster is always ready to gobble up our worries. We have designed new printed sheets and reminded children to write or draw their worry and zip it up into the monster’s mouth. Once they have done that they don’t need to worry about it anymore. The monster will take care of it. Adults at school check the worry monster regularly and can check in with children when needed. We looked at our new Safeguarding Posters to remember who you can talk to at school if your worry just won’t go away.

    Nursery Rhyme of the week– 5 Little Monkeys.

    How you can help at home?

    Please write in your child’s orange reading record each day when they read at home. Consider ” reading books with stories about characters that follow or break rules, and the effects of their behaviour on others.” (Development Matters, 2023)

    “Encourage children to describe problems they encounter, and to suggest ways to solve the problem.” and “Choose books, puppets and dolls that help children explore their ideas about friends and friendship and to talk about feelings, e.g. someone saying ‘You can’t play’.” (Development Matters, 2023)