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  • This Week in Reception

    This week in Reception, Zebras and Elephants have been taking their role of story telling very seriously! We had special auditions for our roles in the Christmas show and been busy learning some of the words and songs.  We can’t wait to surprise you when you come to watch us!

    This week we have been learning all about patterns in Maths. We thought about patterns in the environment, as well as creating our own colour and shape patterns. We used lots of different resources to help us.

    We had a big focus on labels and lost property this week in Reception. We set up a ‘Lost Property’ shop as part of our maths and role play areas. We are encouraging the children to be independent learners and to look after their belongings. We collected all the lost property around the classroom and have given the children opportunities to ‘buy back’ their lost items of clothing from the shop. The children loved handling the play money and have been so pleased to be reunited with their lost gloves, hats and jumpers! Once returned, we are using this as a great opportunity to remind everybody that all of their belongings should be named!

    Writing, writing, everywhere…..!

    We have continued our learning about growing and changes and have loved looking at our baby photos, as well as trying to identify the grown ups! We had a good go at writing the names for our guesses too!

    More fantastic writing this week…..

    We have been applying our knowledge of letters and sounds in lesson time as well as in explore time when we made our own wonderful creations!

    This week in the forest we had lots of fun and have been busy making lots of wonderful creations linked to our learning. We have also been trying really hard to be global green citizens by looking after our environment. We have some very keen gardeners in Reception who loved raking and sweeping the many, many leaves that fall in our garden!

    How you can help at home:


    In phonics this week, we have been busy revisiting and reviewing all of the sounds that we have taught so far. We are very impressed with how many of the children are retaining what they have learned and are able to apply this knowledge to their reading. We thank you for your continued support in hearing your children read everyday and appreciate all the helpful comments in their orange reading records.
    Many children still need some more practise with recognising the harder to read and spell words. Please do support your child with these.

    Encourage your child to spot any patterns around the house or on your journey to school. Can they say the pattern out loud? What might the next shape/colour/number be?

    Encourage your child to mark make and write across a range of opportunities – cards, shopping lists,  postcards, letters!

  • This Week in Reception

    This week commenced with a visit from or Herts Early Years Advisor. She carried out a learning walk of the Nursery and Reception classrooms. She was delighted at the level of pupil engagement in all learning areas and praised the staff for their work on developing high quality interactions with the children and encouraging the pupils to describe their learning.

    The children are learning to, “Explore the natural world around them,” (Development Matters 2021). We have continued to develop areas linked to the topic of Space. The reading area has been turned into ‘Deep Dark Space,” and the children have been using a light box and 2D shapes to make their own solar systems. As part of this week’s learning in maths, the children are making repeating patterns so they have had a go at this whilst in ‘Deep, dark space.”

    During Explore time, we have discussed the change in the weather and seasons moving from Autumn to Winter. We have been using a variety of tools to chip and scrape away at ice to dislodge treasure hidden inside. The children were excellent at describing how their hands were feeling after touching the ice and they recognised the change in state from a solid block of ice to water that was splashing back at them as they worked at the ice.

    The children are learning to, “Retell the story, once they have developed a deep familiarity with the text, some as exact repetition and some in their own words, ” (Development Matters 2021). We have been practising our ambition to become  confident storytellers by inventing space stories on large sheets of paper on the floor. The children were very proud when their stories were shared at the end of the day during story time.


    The phonemes we have learned this week are:

    ai – wait for the train

    oa – float on the moat

    ee – bee on my knee

    igh – light up the night


    We are learning, “Spell words by identifying the sounds and then writing the sound with letter /s, ” (Development Matters 2021).  Here we are practising our writing in the writing area. We are writing road names as part of learning about ourselves. Many of us could name the road we live on and find it on the signs.

    How you can help at home:

    We are learning The Christmas Story in preparation for our show in the coming weeks. You can share the version of The Christmas Story that we are learning here:

    Please learn this week’s nursery rhyme:

    We have been dancing to this in our PE lessons in the style of Rock and Roll. Please do ask your child to show you their dancing moves.

  • This week in Reception…

    We have had an out-of-this-world week in Reception! In Literacy we continued learning a story called “Whatever Next”. We have been talking on the carpet to talk partners and learning to “listen to each other as well as the staff” and “express their feelings and consider the feelings of others.” Development Matters 2023 

    We have collaborated to make a class story map, come up with actions and add post-it notes to label the feelings of the characters. The children have been encouraged to use full sentences to explain why, e.g. Baby bear was excited because he had a picnic on the moon with Owl.  The children have worked so hard to use robot arms and blending hands to write captions and spell words too. Here are some examples of our captions:


    Some of the ways we nurture a love of reading in Reception are by doing daily storytimes, guided reading sessions, sharing high quality texts and having access to books in all areas where the children explore. When we are visiting the Merry Hill library we have been discussing the importance of handling books gently, and putting them back the right way up, so that the next person who comes along can see the labels and enjoy the book, too.

    Please remember to complete daily reading with your child at home and do write a brief comment in their orange reading record to keep in touch and let us know how they are getting on! Here is an example of a reading record with ideas of what sort of comments you could write about your child and some photos of the different types of books they will receive. They should have a library book (a free, independent choice), a colour banded book (colour label seen on spine) and a decodable phonics book (a white label on top right corner specifies your child’s known sounds).


    We have been busy learning even more phonemes in Phonics! Our focus has been ‘sh’, ‘th’, ‘ng’ and ‘nk’

    Please practise recognising and writing these sounds with your child at home.

    Our nursery rhyme for this week has been Row Row Row your Boat

    If you would like to sing this at home and add an extension, you can add extra verses of own e.g. changing the animal in the song: ‘row your boat gently to the shore, if you see a lion there don’t forget to roar’ or ‘row your boat gently down the river, if you see a polar bear don’t forget to shiver’

    How you can help at home:

    • Discuss shapes in the environment- 2D shapes and 3D.
    • Use one handed equipment such as scissors, pipettes and potato mashers.
    • Continue daily name writing

    Well done on another fabulous week of learning Reception!



  • This week in Reception

    We have had another fun-packed week in Reception! On Wednesday we joined our whole school assembly where we did such good sitting and listening. Padre Nicoll told us about Remembrance Day and why it is important to remember. We  also listened to a poem recited by Forces Club called ‘Poppy, Poppy’. We used the same poem and created some watercolour paintings of poppies.



    We also had a go at making poppies out of natural materials in our forest sessions this week – look at our amazing work!

    In Literacy we have started learning a new story called “Whatever Next”. We are learning to “listen to and talk about stories to build familiarity and understanding.” (Development Matters 2021)

    At the beginning of the week, we were very surprised to find a rocket in our garden and wondered how it got there! It was a great start to learning about ‘Whatever Next’. We have been exploring the story in different ways – we used a tuff tray and some story stones to help us re-enact the key parts of the story. We also learnt about how to write a list and thought about what we would pack to take with us to the moon.



    This week has been very busy in explore time as we have also been looking at Rangoli patterns whilst we learn about Diwali. We talked about the shapes, colours and patterns we noticed and then tried to create our own patterns using tweezers and coloured lentils and rice!

    We were also lucky enough to have Mrs Khanderia come in to teach us a Diwali dance as part of our PE lesson this week.


    Reception have been very excited this week to learn about space and have loved looking at Google Earth! We know how to use the internet safely and what to do if we are unsure about anything we see or hear when we are online. We have learned that we must only use the internet when an adult is with us and that we can only use websites and apps that our grown ups know are safe for us. Elephants and Zebras were so excited to see where we live and Merry Hill School on Google Earth!


    We have been busy in Phonics learning even more phonemes! Our focus has been ‘y’ ‘z/zz’ ‘qu’ & ‘ch’.

    Please practise recognising and writing these sounds with your child at home. We try to encourage the children to say the mnemonic as they are writing each sound.

    Our nursery rhyme for this week has been Five Little Men in a Flying Saucer:

    How you can help at home:

    • Explore Google Earth – can you locate places you have visited on holiday? Where you live? Where our school is?
    • Talk about Remembrance at home and think about people who are special to you and why
    • Rehearse the story of Whatever Next – can you think of different ways to retell it in your own words?
    • Notice changes in the environment and talk about autumn

    Well done on another fabulous week of learning Reception!



  • This week in Reception

    We have had a busy time this week in Reception. There have been lots of new activities and areas to explore in line with our “Time Travellers” topic.

    We are learning to “Know that there are different countries in the world and talk about the differences they have experienced or seen in photos,” (Development Matters 2021). In construction we have moved on from making models of homes in Bushey and our own houses to looking at pictures of homes in different parts of the world. After we have made our model we take it to “Quality Control” and write a name label on it. If it meets the requirements eg. It is a model of a home with a window, walls and a roof, it may be chosen to go on display in the construction gallery. We look forward to seeing the models that will be made in the following weeks.

    In the music area we are listening to African Music. We have learned how to play a CD in the CD player and are using the percussion instruments to accompany the CD.

    We have also learned two songs from Africa  which were kindly sent in by one of our Reception families. We have loved dancing to them too!


    Wala waka
    Why not join in at home?

    We are thinking about change over time. We have loved looking at baby photos of staff and children and seeing if we can tell who is who from our features.

    The curiosity cube also had some interesting things for us to look at. We have been wondering what they are and how they worked and, again, considering change over time.

    The children have been using coloured rice in the malleable area to make dinner using different tools and to, “Develop their small motor skills so that they can use a range of tools competently, safely and confidently,” (Development Matters 2021).

    They have also started finding out about celebrations of light and have been learning a firework poem in literacy.

    We discovered some mini versions of ourselves that we have loved playing imaginatively with in the small world area.


    This week we have learned some new phonemes:

    J- jellyfish- swoop down the tentacles and dot the body

    v-viper- down the tongue, up the tongue

    w- wallaby- hop to the top, land and hop, land and hop

    x- xxx- cris -cross the kiss

    y- yacht- under the hull and down to the anchor.

    Please continue to practise our grapheme cards with us at home, putting 3 or 4 together to make words we can blend using our robot arms and blending hands.


    The number of the week is 7.

    “Across the sky and down from heaven, that’s the way we make a seven.”
    Please continue to practise our number formation with us at home.

    How you can help at home:

    Please share the firework code with your children at home and have a fun and safe time if viewing any fireworks over the weekend.










  • This Week in Reception

    •  This week in Reception

    This week we have continued learning The Magic Porridge Pot text in Literacy. The children have been using actions to “engage in storytimes” (Development Matters 2021) by performing the story aloud. We have discussed and chosen exciting actions for ‘once upon a time’, ‘magic’, and ‘they all lived happily ever after’ in addition to the Makaton signs we already know for ‘help’ and ‘stop’. We worked as a team to create a whole class story map of The Magic Porridge Pot. Zebra class chose to change the title of the story to The Magic Hot Chocolate Pot. Elephant class took a vote and changed their version to The Magic Popcorn Pot- which shoots out both sweet and salty! This week, the final week in the learning sequence, the children have designed their own Magic Pot with an original food idea of their own.


    Thank you for supporting your child at home with their phonic retention by reading their decodable reading book every day. Please remember to write in your child’s orange reading record each time you have read the book.

    This week we have learned “b”.

    The mnemonic to help with forming this correctly is: down the person and around the wheel


    We have also been practising one to one correspondence and the counting principle of cardinality in Fiddly Fingers. We have learnt the stem sentences: ‘When counting we point to each object one at a time and say its number name’ and ‘The last number we count is how many we have in total’. Reception have been putting this into practice by counting items practically and counting how many there are inside a larger group of autumn images. The children have been encouraged to use our number rhymes to form numbers correctly, such as ‘down and over, down some more, that’s the way we make a 4’. Some children decided they would use a counting stick to make their one to one counting even more clear.

    We have learned to write the numeral 6. Here is the rhyme we have used and an invitation for the children to explore the number 6 in the Maths area:

    How you can help at home:

    On Friday we will be sending home Harder to Read and Spell words for the children to practice recognising at home. These words are not meant to be decoded using robot arms and hands or phonics strategies. When we teach Harder to Read and Spell words in class, we  encourage the children to ‘take a photo with their eyes’ and use their hands to make a camera clicking action.



    Please continue to practise writing numerals and writing the numbers in their correct number sequence to 10: 1…2…3..4…5…6…7…8….9….10. Ask a challenge question such as I have 8, what is one fewer than 8?


  • This week in Reception

    This week we have been noticing signs of Autumn. The children have been, “learning to explore the world around them” (Development Matters 2021). The tree in our Reception garden has been helpfully dropping sweet chestnut cases which we have been opening with different tools as they are very prickly for our fingers. We have used the sweet chestnuts to subitise groups of 3. Some children have been keen to bring them home – sorry!

    We have also been practising our fine motor skills in Fiddly Fingers lessons. The children are learning to, “Develop their small motor skills so that they can use a range of tools competently, safely and confidently. Suggested tools: pencils for drawing and writing, paintbrushes, scissors, knives, forks and spoons.” (Development Matters 2021)

    In the Forest we have been making an Autumn Wreath. We have collected leaves and objects that have fallen from the trees as the seasons change.



    This week we have been assessing all the children’s phonic retention in order to assign 100% decodable reading books to everyone. We sent these out during Parent Consultations. Please remember to write in the orange reading record when you have read the book.

    This week we have learned “ss”.

    The mnemonic to help with forming this correctly is:

    Sunbathing snakes.


    We have been using our subitising skills to identify which of 2 groups has more or fewer than than the other.

    We have practised the stem sentence ” _____________ has more than ____________,” and ” ____________ has fewer than _____________.”


    We have learned to write the numeral 5. Here is the rhyme we have used:

    How you can help at home:

    Don’t forget to use your grapheme tiles at home to keep generating 2 and 3 letter words. Using just the first 6 phonemes, s, a, t, p, i, n, you can make all of these words:

    We teach SATPIN words first because this combination allows students to blend sounds to create a large number of words. Plus the S and N are continuous sounds or sounds that can be held, which can be useful when teaching students to segment and blend sounds.

    Some common SATPIN words are:

    • nap
    • nip
    • pan
    • pat
    • pin
    • pit
    • sap
    • sat
    • sap
    • sip
    • tap
    • tip

    These are arranged in alphabetical order, but you can teach similar sounds—at, pat, sat and nap, sap, tap—together.

    This week’s nursery rhyme is 5 currant buns. You can find it here:

    Please continue to practise writing numerals. You could use bath crayons, write in flour or rice, or use a paintbrush and water to write on different surfaces outside.


  • This week in Reception

    This week, as part of our Time Travellers Topic, we have been thinking about families and talking about how we have changed since we were babies. We will be looking at photos of some of the grown ups as babies and seeing if we can guess who the babies are! We will be using our investigation skills once again to find out about our friends as babies too!

    In Maths this week we have continued to use ‘perceptual’ subitising. The children are brilliant at remembering our key sentence ‘Subitising means say what you see without counting’. The children have also been encouraged to look at quantities and observe whether the quantity has changed or only the arrangement. They have also been making comparisons between groups of objects, identifying when a group has ‘more’ or ‘fewer’ items.

    We have been focusing on writing numbers and trying to remember all numbers start from the top. We have used these little rhymes to help us:

    0 – Around and round and round we go,  when we get home we have a zero.

    1 – Start at the top and down we run, that’s the way we make a one.

    2 – Around and back on a railroad track, two, two, two.

    3 – Around the tree and around the tree, that is how we make a three.

    4 – Down and over, around some more, that is how we make a four.

    5 – Down and around then a flag on high, that’s the way we make a five.



    The children in Reception have been learning a new story this week – The Magic Porridge Pot. We have learned some new actions to go with the story too – ask us what they are!

    We set the children a special mission this week because the role play babies had got themselves into a bit of a mess! We asked the children to help wash them as they’d covered themselves in porridge. The children did a fantastic job and were very careful not to wipe porridge in their eyes. Well done reception for being so kind and helpful.


    We have been exploring signs of autumn in our investigation area this week. We spoke about using our senses to help us discuss what we noticed. We also had a go at cutting up some different fruit and looking at the seeds inside them using magnifying glasses! We had lots of questions and interesting things to share with our friends.


    This week we have been learning all about harvest. We watched a special assembly and sang a harvest song. We have also been creating observational drawings of fruit and vegetables, as well as observing the seeds in different foods too.

    How you can help at home:

    Use foam numbers in the bath to put in order from 1-5. Select one number and ask your child what number is one more or one less. Practise writing the numbers using a paintbrush and water on paving slabs.

    Have a go at making your own porridge at home – what could you put in it to make it even tastier?


    This week we have learned the phonemes, ‘ck,’ ‘e’, ‘u,’ and ‘r’. Here are the mnemonics we have used to help us to form the graphemes correctly.

    ck – the camel stood by the kid

    e – around the head and down the trunk

    u – under and up the umbrella and down to the tip

    r – down her body and over her arm

    The nursery rhyme this week is ‘Hickory, Dickory Dock.” Have a go at singing this at home:


  • This week in Reception

    Four weeks of fabulous learning – you are all settling into your new school routine beautifully!

    This week the children have loved exploring more of the exciting areas in Reception including Music (inside and out), our malleable area and our investigation area. There is so much for us to see and do!

    Inclusion Week

    This week is National Inclusion Week so we began the week by sharing an assembly explaining that we are working towards the Inclusion Award. Following this we learned ‘Old Macdonald,’ using Makaton and discussed how Makaton helps some people to communicate.


    Our special visitor, Mrs Cluer, came to talk to us about a Jewish festival she celebrates. She showed us some pictures and shared a PowerPoint about Sukkot. The children were all looking forward to having a go at building their own Sukkahs making sure they left gaps in the roof to observe the stars.



    We have innovated the story of The Little Red Hen and changed the characters from a bull, cat and rat to a pig, rabbit and a sheep. We are very good at telling the story with actions. Ask us to show you. We are learning to “retell the story, once they have developed a deep familiarity with the text; some as exact repetition and some in their own words,” (Development Matters 2021).  As the Little Red Hen bakes bread we decided to try different breads in Snack Time.


    We are learning to, “Explore the composition of numbers to 10” (Development Matters 2021). This week, the children explored how numbers can be composed of 1s and, from this, began to investigate the composition of 3 and 4. Composing and de-composing numbers involves children investigating part–whole relations, e.g. seeing that 3 can be composed of 1 and 2. The children learned from practical experience that a ‘whole’ is made up of smaller parts and is, therefore, bigger than its parts.


    We have been busy exploring the music area and have been listening to music from Africa. We tried using the instruments to keep beat with the music we were listening to and also discussed how the music made us feel.


    This week we have learned how to use the malleable area. We used bread, flour and water to make our own doughballs, pizza, bread and pancakes – just like the Little Red Hen!

    Here is our Nursery Rhyme of the week:

    Phonemes of the week

    We are learning to, “read individual letters by saying the sounds for them” and “develop the foundations of a handwriting style which is fast accurate and efficient” (Development Matters 2021).

    This week we have been practicing our ‘g,’ ‘o’, ‘c,’ and ‘k,’ sounds and looking at how to write the letters that go with each sound.

    g – start at his ear, around the face and down the beard.

    o – around the ostrich’s body.

    c – curl around the camel’s back.

    k- down the body, up the arm, down the leg.

    How you can help at home:

    Your child will have brought home the grapheme tiles to accompany the phonemes they have learned so far. Please cut them out and encourage your child to put them together to make words. You can challenge them by saying a word and asking them to make it such as: at, in, sat, dip, peg etc. Remind them to use their robot arms and blending hands when practising the words.

    You can support the practise of writing the grapheme by using rice, flour or lentils in a tray and helping them to draw the shapes with their finger. Remember to start the grapheme at the top. You can also see what sounds you can spy around the house – can you find 5 objects beginning with ‘s’ hiding around the house? Happy hunting!

    Have a lovely weekend,
    The Reception Team

  • Our first PE lesson

    Reception have been doing a fantastic job in their second week at Merry Hill School! We have been talking about our Golden Rules then showing how we follow them so we can all feel happy together.  The children have been looking after property by changing for PE and putting their uniform inside their PE kits so they can find it again at the end of the lesson!

    PE was a great success, we learnt how to set up the equipment safely by listening to instructions and working as a team.  We discussed and learnt different ways to move our body. Some of the things we came up with were hopping, jumping, walking, running and rolling.  We discussed the difference between jumping and hopping; it is that “hopping is using one foot” and “jumping is landing on two feet at the same time!”

    How you can help at home:

    We have been learning The Grand Old Duke of York and have been practising the marching as we sing. Marching is another way we can move our body and links to what we are doing in PE! Click on the link so you can sing this with your child at home.

    In our phonics sessions this week we have learnt these sounds:

    We have been emphasising how to say a sound correctly using pure sounds. Please see the video below if you would like more information on pure sounds. Using the pure sound will help the children when they begin blending sounds together to make words.


    Can you go on a scavenger hunt for something at home that begins with ‘nnnnnnnn’?

  • This week in Reception…..

    We have had a very busy first full week in reception! We made lots of new friends and settled into our new classes. It has been a week of lots of ‘firsts’…..

    We had our first library visit where we all chose a book to bring home and are looking forward to sharing them with you. We learned how to look after the books and how to put them away carefully, as well as enjoying some time to sit and read with our friends.

    Lunchtimes have been very successful – we have enjoyed tasting lots of new foods in the dining hall. Our grown ups have played lots of fun games with us and helped us make new friends. We have also loved exploring and climbing on the play equipment, as well as making up our own imaginative games!


    Mrs Mitzman and Mrs Rogerson have taken us to visit the forest this week for our first Mini Explorers session and we LOVED it! Look at all our smiling faces in these photos! We read two books this week called Stanley’s Stick and Stick and Stone. Later we explored and made our own numbers using natural materials.

    In Literacy, we have been learning to tell the story of The Little Red Hen. We have all done a great job at joining in with the repeated refrains in the story.  We use actions to help us remember the key events in stories as we learn them – ask us what actions we have been using to help us this week!

    How you can help at home:

    We have been learning Incy Wincy Spider and have been practising the actions as we sing along. Click on the link so you can sing this with your child at home.

    In our first phonics sessions this week we have learnt these sounds:

    We have practised saying the sounds, as well as having a go at writing them too! Try them at home.

    Ask your child to retell The Little Red Hen in their own words. Can you learn the actions too? Maybe you could have a go at making your own bread!

    Well done on a wonderful first full week, Reception! You are all brilliant Elephants and Zebras! We hope you all have a restful weekend ready for another busy week of learning from Monday.

  • This week in Reception

    This week has been our very first week in Reception.

    We have come into school so confidently and surprised our teachers by how grown up we have been.

    We have learned the names of our teachers and made lots of new friends.

    We have changed from our shoes, into our wellies when we have played in the sand.


    We have learned how to use the equipment in the Writing Area.


    We have made mud pies in the Mud Kitchen.


    We have practised sharing and taking turns when building models. We even pretended we were at home in the Home Corner and made dinner for our friends.


    This week we have started to talk about The Golden Rules:

    We do look after property,

    We are kind and helpful.

    The teachers have been watching to see who is remembering the rules and putting things away carefully with their friends.

    Time Travellers

    This term we are following the topic of Time Travellers.

    Why “Time Travellers?”

    Past to present: We are thinking about changes over time. Children are new to the class and may be new to the school. How is it different in Reception? We are also observing seasonal change over time.

    Telling the time: We are learning new routines and the timetable for the day. What happens in the morning, afternoon, on a Wednesday?

    Future: We are involving children in their learning. What will we be finding about next week, next term, next year? What do you want to be when you grow up

    Here is our Topic Map demonstrating topic links in each subject area:


    How you can help at home:

    Please check everything is named and that your child can find their name on their belongings.

    Sing along with the nursery rhyme of the week, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star:

    Well done Reception. You have had a super first week.