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Marshland St James Primary and Nursery School

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Beech Class

17th October 2021

Yet another week has rushed by and your children are about to start the last week of their first half term in either Reception or Nursery, it is quite remarkable how quickly the time is going.
We have noticed how well they are all coming in and settling to morning activities, then registration and our morning songs. They are all much more independent and beginning to organise their things, well done as they are so young.
This week we have been doing 'sticky kids' as part of our morning exercise rather than fizzy club. Sticky kids is a dance based activity moving to lots of familiar songs and rhymes...I suggest you ask about the song 'stand up sit down', this has certainly proved a challenge for the adults and not the children! However, it is most enjoyable for all.
We will continue our work on 1/2/3 and play some calculation games to support this such as throwing bean bags in a hoop and scoring points.
Nursery are continuing to work on colour and pattern but will join in our counting games.
We hope you enjoyed the 'five little apples' song they learnt for harvest. This reinforced counting and early subtraction skills, it developed memory skills through the repetition and the use of Makaton signs to help support inclusion for all our children.
Thank you too for the wonderful contributions you gave for our harvest.
We will continue our work on phonics and listening skills.
Reception parents please don't forget to access the learning platforms of spelling shed and purple mash, these supplement the learning the children access in class. Thank you to those who have accessed them with their children, I have seen some lovely work.
Also thank you if you have sent in photos of family and the children as babies this has stimulated a lot of discussion.
Don't forget it is photograph day tomorrow, as well as parents meetings for reception children. Nursery parents I will meet with you after half term to help give your children a little longer to settle, but please do not hesitate to raise any questions you might have before then.
So on to a busy four day week from tomorrow, don't forget there is no school on Friday as we have a staff training day school will then return on Monday 1st of November.
Thank you again for your wonderful support.

Sue Belcher

10th October 2021

What a beautiful weekend, I hope you have had a lovely time with your families the sun certainly makes you feel refreshed and energetic.
Well I hope that energy continues this week into the classroom for both myself and the children as we begin week six.
In Maths we will continue to investigate 1/2/3 and ensuring subitising (the ability to look at a small amount and know how many is there without the need to count.)
For our nursery children we will focus on sort by colour. We will continue looking at pattern for both nursery and reception, using seasonal vegetables and fruit to print with so linking in the harvest theme.
We shall talk about harvest and learn a song for harvest which I shall post on here. We will also talk about Autumn and link that into pattern and colour too.
We are also continuing with our work on the children as babies and their families, so if you haven't sent a picture in then please do. You can send one via tapestry as an observation.
The children are working hard in phonics and very eager to read. I hope you saw the reading video.
Nursery will now bring books home but please use these as discussion points, this will really help their vocabulary development and raise their interest in reading.
We will also send home 'library' books for each child for you to share with them. We will take them in small groups to the library and encourage them to choose a book to bring home.
Please don't forget to return their library books and reading scheme books.
As Autumn is a time of change we will discuss how the leaves change colour and drop, we can link this into investigations into colour mixing, so we will give them red and yellow to make orange.
We are so proud of how the children are doing and I hope you are too!
Don't forget PE tomorrow for Reception children so please send them in their PE kit.

Phonics link

This is a link to a free course explaining how we teach phonics. The approach we follow is called sounds write devised by John Walker and it is very good. This link takes you to the 'course' for parents devised by John Walker. 

3rd October 2021

Another week has raced by and the children are most certainly getting into the routine of school and nursery. They are making good relationships with one another and this is now reflecting in their play.
They were busy last week making faces on paper plates, we spoke about about those body parts and how they help us. We have done work on repeating patterns for example red/blue/red/blue. You could reinforce pattern work at home, not to be confused with making something look pretty which some thought it was. Encourage pattern making by using two items or colours which repeat for example spoon/ fork/spoon/fork, it doesn't have to be colours it could be any item...even play a game using body parts clap/ touch nose/clap/ touch nose.
For the reception children this week we are moving onto number. Many of the children can count to 10 or 20 etc..but what we will focus on as well as recognition is subitising (the ability to look at a small amount and know how many is there without the need to count.) This week's focus is 1/2/3.
Nursery often join me for our formal teaching sessions but their main focus will still be on pattern.
Reception are so excited about reading, many were choosing to read their books to one another during their continuous provision time. They also like to write and were attempting to write the letters in our writing area, some were writing the words from the phonics lesson.
This week phonics will focus on a/i/m/s/t/n/o/p. There are no new sounds this week as we need to embed these and develop their blending skills( joining the sounds together to make a word).
There are many words that those few letters can make so it really helps to embed them for the children.
(it/is/at/am/sat/sit/mat/Sam/Tim/Tam/map/nap/pot/pan/sip/not/Tom/tin/pat/pin/man/pit/tan/mop/top/tap/tip/sip). The children are very good at hearing the sounds so showing segmenting skills.
Nursery will be listening out for environmental sounds both inside and out through a little listening work around our school.
We will also be thinking this week about our families. If you would like to send in a photo (or upload it onto Tapestry) of your child's family, that would be great. We can then talk about their families and the people who care for them. The children recognise some people are at different ages and stages in their life. Children are beginning to understand chronology and the passing of time.
If you have a baby photo of them that would be great to share with us as we can talk about how they have changed.
Our story focus this week will be Owl Babies, so again we can talk about relationships and change.
Don't forget reception have PE on Monday, so they need to come dressed in PE kit.
Also don't forget that all reception children are entitled to free school meals, our school provide good lunches so they are worth a try.


Reading with your child

Still image for this video
Just a little video to support you when reading with your child. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
Sue Belcher

26th September 2021


Hello everyone, I can't believe that as of tomorrow we are about to start week 4, where has the time gone?
Your children have been amazing and although there have been a few tears, they have settled very well and have been very busy.
These last few weeks have been incredibly important in building relationships with their peers and with staff. We are certainly beginning to see their personalities shining through and friendships building. We often look at this cohort of children and think how for between a third and half of their lives they have been affected by the pandemic, so many not being able to see relatives, not mixing in pre-school groups or clubs and growing up seeing many adults wearing masks; how bizarre this must have been for them and now they are being left with relative strangers, despite all that they have done so well.
Over the next few weeks the children will be building upon their relationships and through our curriculum work on All about me they will be finding out about the senses, naming body parts, exploring what our bodies can do in PE and outdoor play.
Each morning we all do a little movement session we call 'Fizzy'. This is for approximately 20 minutes and we focus on balance, body awareness and coordination. They are really enjoying it and for nursery especially they are able to use the hall which is normally for the older children.
Reception have started phonics and reading we follow the sounds write programme, we have currently taught the children aimst and on Monday will introduce nop as well. I shall arrange a phonics meeting shortly to explain the process. In the mean time I will post a video on Tapestry this week to explain it.
Nursery are in the process of working on  listening and language development games that help form the basis of phonics.
In maths we follow the White Rose maths mastery approach. I find it to be very thorough it starts by looking at sorting/ matching/ pattern and builds to number work. It is very comprehensive and gives the children a great concept of mathematical vocabulary and skills.
In RE we are following the Emmanuel Project and this half term we will be asking  'Why is the word 'God' so important.'
PE is on Monday afternoons for reception please send your child in their PE kit.
I hope this overview gives you a little insight into Beech class. I will keep you posted with any information I have.

Thank you
Sue Belcher

p.s. I shall send passwords out for both Purple Mash and Spelling shed this week for reception, they are learning platforms for computing and spelling.

13th June

This week we will be continuing our work on growing plants. We had an interesting discussion last week about food and where it comes from, most could name a fruit or a vegetable that grows so if you could reinforce this it would be great thank you. They were not so sure where meat products come from so we had a chat about that too, many disbelieving that meat products come from animals. So even a casual chat about meat would help too. They will have the farm and farm animals out this week as well to support.
We will be growing beans and talking about Jack and the beanstalk. I think there may even be some giant footprints appear!
In phonics we are reinforcing our work on sh/ch/th/wh/qu/tch/ng (these are two letter making one sound). The children are working incredibly hard with their reading and spelling. The sounds write programme is very effective don't forget that there is free training available on this, I have sent out the link previously but if you can't find it but would like it just let me know.
In writing they will initially write about Jack and the Beanstalk but lead up to writing their own version.
In maths we will be looking at sharing by two, last week we covered work on doubles so this will follow on very nicely. Last week the children also investigated counting to 20 in 2's, 5's, 10's and then they posed the question whether they could count to it in 4's which then led onto looking at 6's and 7's .This was all initiated by the children, they were quite simply amazing!
PE will be Monday afternoon but we shall be very cautious about the weather conditions.

2nd June 2021

During the next half term we will be looking at how plants grow and finishing our work on minibeasts. Please have a look at the knowledge organiser which will reflect the areas we are going to cover.



5th November 2020 

Hello all,
Hope you are all well. I have a little learning opportunity for you all that I would like to signpost you to, should you wish to try it.
I have recently finished a 40 hour course on phonics called Sounds Write. I have been teaching phonics , reading and writing for many years but the academy trust invested in this training for all of their schools, as they wanted a universal approach to the teaching of phonics.
I must say that I did actually enjoy the course and it reaffirmed what I had been teaching all these years. I have been implementing some of the ideas the last few weeks and the children are as always very eager to learn. We also have more new reading books arriving soon that will closely follow the Sounds-Write approach.
Normally I would do a phonics and reading meeting for parents to explain our approach but as you will appreciate that is not possible at this moment in time. Luckily Sounds-Write have came to the rescue and produced a free online course for parents so that you will become familiar with the approach...the added bonus is that you won't have me on video explaining it!
So if you click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser it should take you to it. 

I hope this helps you to understand the approach and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Thank you
Susan Belcher

22nd October 2020


Good morning everyone, hope you are well.

During half term could you please look out for a pebble or large stone to send into school with your child after half term. We would like to paint them with poppies for Remembrance and display them around the school.

Thank you so much for your support, we really do appreciate it. We have had a really enjoyable half term and we hope that your children have too. They certainly have been a credit to you all.

Have a good and restful break.

Susan Belcher

21st October 2020

After a little bit of sorting out I believe I have mastered spelling shed and have assigned the children a spelling assignment to try over half term.
At this point this is experimental and I would so appreciate your feedback on it. Firstly to know if it has been set up correctly for you and your child to access at home and secondly to see if they enjoy it.
I will send home tomorrow their passwords, there is also a QR code too so you can access it that way if you prefer. I personally went via this link and put in the username and password:-  You can access it via phones, i pads, tablets and laptops. Happy spelling!

18th October 2020


Another week has gone by, I can't believe that we are about to start week 7. It certainly has flown by and the children have been tremendous, I am immensely proud of them.
During the week the children were very busy from building structures with the cardboard boxes, to hammering golf tees into pumpkins to develop their fine motor skills, writing their names, exploring the numerals 1,2,3, spelling, reading and writing, making patterns, painting pictures, making playdough cakes...I could go on!
They also love to listen to stories which is so important in developing their love of reading and developing vocabulary.

This coming week we shall be discussing harvest, reading the story of The Little Red Hen, continue exploring 1/2/3 and the sounds /a/i/m/s/t/n/o/p/c/h/g/b.

Thank you for your continued support and don't forget the children are not in school on Friday 23rd October but will return Monday 2nd November.

11th October 2020

WOW! Another week over where does the time go?

The children have once again been very busy and seem very well settled, as I have said before they are very eager to learn and try new things.

We have continued with phonics and making words from /a/ /i/ /m/ /s/ /t/ /n/ /o/ /p/. They have played a search game and found them on individual boards, practiced writing them and saying them. Some of the children were even playing 'schools' and being myself teaching their friends! Quite amusing to watch I must say.

We have reinforced with them how we learn to read and write by moving left to right and top to bottom so if you can reinforce this too that would be great. Thank you.

In maths we have been looking at repeating patterns and this too has reinforced the concept of left to right as they 'read' their pattern.

Some of the children wanted to create a camp fire and pretend they were cooking. Next week they will pretend they are cooking marshmallows so they can have a little taste of those!

We will be doing PE on Monday (not nursery) so please send them in suitably dressed i.e. jogging bottoms/ fleeces/ trainers. Normally we would get the children changed for PE and develop that skill but with the current situation this isn't possible.

We will continue with the phonics and introduce /b//c//g//h/. We are reinforcing reading and writing skills in each session.

In Maths we will be looking at numbers and counting to 3. This doesn't sound very high but we are looking at a mastery approach, this means that they will be developing the skill of subitising. This means that they know instantly an amount without having to count 1 to 1. This is often a skill we assume children have as we do as adults but it is really important that it is taught effectively to 5, as beyond this they begin to bring in other skills. I will post some examples of their work as the week progresses.


Friday 2nd October 2020

Thank you for your continued support this term I really appreciate it. A newsletter will be coming out next week with some further information.

The children are enjoying phonics and reading. So far we have focused on  'a, i, m, s, t'. They have been segmenting and blending sat, mat, am, it, is.

I will be adding a post on tapestry about how to pronounce the sounds, I will also try to upload a video on here too.


Susan Belcher

Welcome to Beech class, we have had a wonderful start to the term.