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Blogs from Tewin Cowper C of E Primary School

Happy New Year!

Welcome back everyone.

  I hope you had a lovely Christmas and feel rested and ready to face the New Year. I may have mentioned it once or twice, but we are all incredibly proud of the hard work that the children put in last term, particularly with such a wonderful Christmas performance. They did, indeed, all shine. Miss Whitby; Mrs Walker; Mrs Carnegie and I would like to say a big thank you for all the lovely Christmas gifts.  They were so kind and thoughtful and we feel very spoiled.

Our topic this half-term is ‘Once upon a time…’ and we are already onto our second story.  Last week we read The Three Little Pigs, and have followed it with The Three Billy Goats Gruff. We will make a short detour to learn about the story of the Chinese zodiac before reading Goldilocks and The Three Bears.  We will be using these books to help us write speech bubbles; character descriptions and zig-zag books, culminating with a week adapting the stories we have read to create our own.

In maths we are learning to use a number line, practising one-to-one counting and saying the number as we make our finger do the jump to the next number.  Board games are very good for this and are a fun way to support your child with number recognition and counting on from any number.

We now have our own maths passports like the rest of the school and have sent the first piece of homework out.  Thanks to those who have already sent it back.  We need to see evidence of understanding at least three times before we consider it to be securely learnt and homework counts as one example.  With that in mind, please remember that it is the child’s work that we want to see.  If your child can tell you the answer, but isn’t sure how to write it, please model it for them to copy, or write it in yellow for them to trace.  Crossings out or backward numbers give me a much clearer understanding of the support a child needs than the neat writing of an adult.

The children are doing very well with phonics, thanks to all for supporting them with the cards and reading books at home, and a huge thanks to the parents who have helped to make the cards so far.  There are still more to make if anyone feels like offering! This week is a revision week before we carry on with new digraphs. 

Some pleas:

For anyone who has left outdoor shoes at home so far, or has not yet sent wellies and a rain suit in, please make it a priority to send them into school.  I can only protect school uniforms from mud if I have a way to cover them and there is invaluable learning taking place in our muddy area and the new mud kitchen!

We do also have a number of children without water bottles which should, by the way, only contain water please, and we are finding a number of un-named sweatshirts and cardigans that prove difficult to get back to the right child.

If anyone has any old or odd socks at home could we please have them? We will be making sock puppets with the class very soon and have a limited supply.  Plain paper bags would be helpful for similar reasons.

The donations we received last term, of resources and money, were wonderful and have allowed us to enhance the learning environment greatly.  We are now in our second term and a donation of £5 a term will help us to continue to provide exciting resources.  We now have a new mud kitchen, a small-world jungle and a fantasy fairy garden being planned.  We have bought books and ‘props’ that have enabled us to follow the children’s interests.  We have cooked, and will be again next week, when we celebrate Chinese New Year and would like to thank you for your support last term.  We are looking forward to a fun-packed term but, as always, please feel welcome to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

With best wishes,

Mrs Dear and the Willows team

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Willow class - November 22

Hello everyone,

What a busy time we are having!  After our fantastic science week, we are now firmly into our new topic ‘Journeys’ and the run up to Christmas. Last week we went on a Bear Hunt, learning lots of different positional language as we hunted over, under and all around for bears and identified the ones we found using non-fiction reference books.

This week the children chose to travel to Australia.  We are using the book ‘Wombat goes Walkabout’ to help us think about our different strengths and abilities.  We will be continuing to use non-fiction books, researching facts about Australia, and have set up camp outside with tents, a ‘camp fire’ and lots of billy cans.  We are hoping to finish the week with a real campfire but that will depend on the weather.  You will receive more information on Thursday if this looks promising.

We would like to say a big thank you to the Mums who came in to help with science week, and to those who have been supporting us by making phonics cards and with gifts of much needed stationary.  You are all very much appreciated.  We also have a couple of lovely volunteers who will be coming in on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to help with admin jobs and, if anyone else would like to join them just let me know, there are always plenty of jobs to go around! 

This term is a busy and, unfortunately, expensive time of year.  As a small school our budget is also tiny and is often stretched to its limit just providing the essentials.  In Reception, so much of the fun, and the learning, is to be found in the creative activities we provide and Christmas is a prime example of this.  In the past, Willow class teachers have asked for donations from parents and carers and I need to do so once more.  Mrs Carnegie has been cooking with the children today and we hope to be able to do more cooking and Christmas crafts in the next few weeks; but we will need your help to do so.  £5.00 per family will allow us to buy resources like the following: more cooking and play dough ingredients; card, foam, sequins, metallic paint, calendars and gems for craft activities; sand, shaving foam, rice and cornflour for sensory writing practise.  If you are happy to donate this amount each half term we will be able to continue to enhance the children’s learning with resources bought specifically to support their interests, making their Reception year as exciting as possible. 

I will send a note in book bags about this that will also include items on a wish list.  These will be toys and equipment that I feel we are missing in the class and if you are having a clear out and realise that you have a surplus of small world figures, for instance, please think of us!

Sorry this has been such a long blog! I would just like to finish by saying how well the children are doing with their play rehearsals. They sing beautifully and we are looking forward to sharing our play with you.  Any costume issues please let us know as soon as you can and we will help.  We hope you will stay for photos and mince pies after the performance, more information to follow.

Best wishes,

Debbie Dear

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Tinfoil and Aliens

Hello everyone!


Firstly, a big thank you for the tinfoil that has been appearing in book bags.  The children have made an amazing rocket, complete with shiny roof and space station.  The classroom is covered in glitter so don’t be surprised if bath time is a little more ‘sparkly’ than usual!  What we really need now is a monitor or two so that mission control can keep track of the rocket as it blasts off.  If you happen to have an old, unused, laptop or pc monitor lurking at the back of a cupboard we would be extremely grateful.

The mud, and often the grass, is now a ‘wellies only’ zone so, if you haven’t yet sent your child in with a clearly labelled pair, now’s the time.  I would just mention that the label is for your child’s use as well as ours so please show them where their name is so they can find their own pair.  The same applies to all-in- one wet suits.  The children want to be outside in all weather and some have already made use of their suits.  These are apparently on special offer in Lidl if you haven’t got one yet.

Lastly, I have introduced a little friend to the class recently.  He is an alien called Pod from the planet Shoop.  The children have heard about his journey here all by himself and how much he wants to learn while he is with us.  He is especially keen to do phonics, read stories and learn numbers.  How convenient!  At the moment he is watching the children very carefully and on Friday he will go home with a child who has been a good friend this week.  Pod will go home every Friday for the weekend in his special bag with his ‘Earth Journal’.  Please share your weekend with him and encourage your child to make an entry in the journal to share with the class on Monday. Pod will often be part of our carpet sessions so it is important that he comes back to us each Monday.

Many thanks,

Debbie Dear

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Hello everyone!

Firstly I must say how proud I am of your children for their wonderful performance at the Harvest Festival.  To stand up and perform with such confidence on their first full day was a real achievement and the whole school gave them an extra round of applause in assembly this week.

Now that the children are doing full days in school our timetable is in full swing.  Our topic this half term is ‘Out of this world’.  We are starting with the book ‘Aliens love underpants’ which we are using in our literacy and maths lessons. In maths we are looking at shape, colour and pattern as well as counting, focussing on numbers 1-10.  In literacy we have been looking at aliens and pants! The children have been thinking of interesting words to describe the fancy pants and have been drawing their own aliens and making some fantastic displays.

Autumn has definitely arrived and our garden will only get wetter and colder from here, but the children will still want to play in it.  As I’m sure many of you have noticed, our mud area is getting muddier by the minute and we have now said that wellies must be worn when playing in it.  If you haven’t yet sent wellies and waterproof suits in, now would the time to think about that.  There is so much to be experienced and learnt from outside play that we really don’t want to be ruled by the weather.  Please also remember that the children do have the opportunity to drink throughout the day and need to have their own water bottles to allow them to do this independently.

Next week we are going to attempt to build our own space ship but we need your help!  If anyone has any large boxes that we could use it would be wonderful to make something big enough for the children to sit in.   To go with our topic the children have asked for a space role-play.  This is something we are very happy to do but we have no ‘space’ toys to go with it.  If there are any lovely people out there who would like to donate any toys, figures or old (non-working) laptops or keyboards for mission control we would be very grateful!

One last request:  could you all please send me a simple email on my school address so that I can add you all to my address book? Just drop me a line to say hi or let me know how you think your child is settling in.  It would be helpful to have another way of contacting you all.  I will be arranging an afternoon drop-in session soon to give the children a chance to show you their class room.

That’s it for now.  Watch this space for more news and keep an eye open for a potential ‘alien visit’!

Best wishes,

Debbie Dear

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  Our Address:
Tewin Cowper C of E Primary School
Cannons Meadow,
01438 717378
01438 718586