Reception Class

Mr D Masters

Class Teacher

Miss L Abel

Teaching Assistant

Mrs K Malyan

Miss R Adler

Teaching Assistant



Children in Year R (Reception) are in the final year of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which is the stage of education from birth to the end of the school year in which they have their fifth birthday.

The Year R teacher is Mr Masters and the teaching assistants are Mrs Malyan, Miss Abel and Miss Adler. 

In Class R, our primary aim is to cultivate happy, confident and resilient learners. During their Reception year, our children develop their knowledge, understanding and independence by engaging with a broad range of practical, play-based learning experiences. This ‘playful learning’, as we call it, is planned around our children’s interests as they emerge; ultimately providing our children with a stimulating and immersive learning environment, wherein the Early Learning Goals of the Early Years Foundation Stage can successfully be achieved. This then ensures that our children leave Class R with the confidence and skill required to begin their next adventure: Year 1!


Year R is the first year at school and our aim is that the children will have a smooth transition to school. We visit nurseries/pre schools where possible and talk to the children’s key workers aswell as inviting the children into the classroom for sessions in the summer term before they start school. The children are also given the opportunity to come into school with their parents to have a school dinner during the Summer Term. We also make a home visit at the beginning of the Autumn Term.


During the Reception year children work towards the Early Learning Goals in the Prime Areas of Communication and Language; Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development. Also the Specific Areas of Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. Every day children have opportunities to plan their own learning during ‘Own Learning Time’. During this time the children can choose to work from areas of continuous provision indoors or outdoors. Phonics is taught daily using a combination of Letters and Sounds, Jolly Phonics and Read Write Ink.

Assessment is primarily through the observation of children, through which next steps of learning are identified and planned for. Children’s interests are sought and taken into account when planning to ensure that children are engaged in their learning.

Throughout the year the observations of children’s learning are compiled into a Learning Journey.

What's been happening in class this term? Spring Term 2019
This week Class R have enthusiastically dived into their new topic, ‘Animal Kingdom’. The children have begun to explore a range of texts, from physical story books, nonfiction books and digital stories. The enthusiasm generated by our exploration of these texts has resulted in some outstanding topic work. The children have written labels to identify characters and objects of significance from a key text; the children have created maps based on their investigation of a world map; the children have researched where different animals prefer to live.
In Maths this week, using our brand new water tray and water wall, the children have begun to explore volume and capacity. The children have led independent investigations and have learnt to apply new vocabulary within a context. For example, differentiating between a jug that is almost full and a jug that is full. In Outdoor Learning this week, the children have enjoyed visited Mr Costello and meeting our new African land snails.
What's been happening in class this week? 

This week, Class R had the fantastic opportunity to visit Newquay Zoo for their first school trip. This trip provided the children with the opportunity to link their current learning focus of ‘Under the Sea’ to their next learning focus: ‘Animal Kingdom’. On behalf of the entire Class R team, I would like to give a big ‘firework clap’ to all of the adults who supported us during our trip, as well as all of the adults who kindly offered their assistance.


The children thoroughly enjoyed learning about all of the different animals that the zoo cares for. We met with a zookeeper to learn about penguins; we watched the zookeepers feed the penguins at lunch time; we also observed lions, monkeys and zebras exploring their habitats. In Phonics, in honour of our trip, we even learnt the new sound ‘oo’, using the rhyme: ‘oo, oo, poo at the zoo’! The children were outstanding ambassadors for Connor Downs Academy and behaved brilliantly during their visit! Well done Class R, you’re ‘dabulous’!


At school this week, we welcomed some of our parents/carers into our classroom for a morning of shared maths learning. The children impressed the adults with their knowledge of subitising (using a catchy rap!), identifying and describing 2D and 3D shapes, and recording number sentences. The children’s enthusiasm towards their learning in our Mathematics sessions is fantastic and we hope that those of you who were able to join us enjoyed seeing this first-hand.


In our Playful Learning this week, following the interests of the children, we have begun to apply our phonic knowledge to write our own shopping lists. The children have generated some fantastic ideas, writing a range of phonetically plausible words independently. My personal favourite was ‘j-e-t-p-a-c, jetpac’. To enrich this interest further, we have also begun exploring simple currency (1p coins). We will then utilise this in our role play area to facilitate pretend transactions.


This week in Class R, the children have continued to enjoy a range of provision linking to our learning focus: ‘Under the Sea’. As a class, in preparation for our upcoming trip to Newquay’s ‘Bluereef Aquarium’, we have used our interactive whiteboard to research the aquarium’s website and discuss the various sea creatures that we think live at the aquarium. In addition to this, the children were extremely excited to discover that they will have the opportunity to hold various creatures during our visit to the aquarium. We have thought about the different sea creatures and practised articulating the initial sounds of their names, for example: ‘sss-tarfish’.


In ‘Playful Learning’, the children have enthusiastically applied their phonic knowledge to write labels and captions for sea creatures in our ‘Under the Sea Cave’ roleplay area. This has enabled the children to independently classify the sea creatures and, in turn, has prompted some brilliant discussions about the habitats and diets of the various sea creatures. Later in the week, linking to ‘Children in Need’, the children have also enjoyed designing their own ‘Pudsey Bear’. As a class, we have discussed the importance of this occasion and have thought about why we should support those less fortunate than ourselves. The children raised some fantastic points in this discussion, for example, one child said: “it’s kind to help other people who don’t have things like us, so that it can be fair”.


In Mathematics, we have begun to look at subitising. This involves identifying and quantifying an amount on sight. We have used a fun, engaging rap song to help us develop this skill. Mr Masters was extremely impressed with how well the children have responded to this. So much so that it has now become part of our daily routine! Throughout the week, we have taken this opportunity to enhance the children’s mathematical learning in our outdoor provision. The children have worked together to observe and subitise sets of mini-beasts.



First and foremost, Mr Masters and all of the adults in Class R would like to give a giant ‘firework clap’ to all of the children in Reception for their wonderful performances of ‘Under the Sea’ this week. Music Night was a huge success; we could not be prouder of the children for displaying such enthusiasm and confidence on stage. Mr Masters even dressed up as an octopus for the performances! This was to demonstrated to the children that it is okay to be brave and ‘step outside of your comfort zone’. We hope that all of the adults who came to see our class perform had a fantastic time!

In ‘Playful Learning’ this week, the children have combined a range of media to create their own fireworks; this was preceded by an engaging discussion centred around Bonfire Night and the children’s excitement towards going to watch fireworks with their adults at home. We have also enjoyed inventing narratives in our new, ‘small world’ area of provision; the children worked collaboratively, using a range of sea creatures, to create an ‘Under the Sea’ story. 

In Literacy this week, we have begun to explore non-fiction texts relating to our ‘Under the Sea’ learning focus. We have used  this literature to investigate various sea creatures. For example, we discovered that octopuses prefer to the live on the ocean floor, and that a stingray’s sting is located in its tail. Following this, we decided to watch brief video extracts of educational documentaries, wherein this was shown visually. The children thoroughly enjoyed watching ‘real life’ versions of the sea creatures we have seen in our focus texts.

In Mathematics, we have continued our focus on solving addition sentences to 10. As a class, we have discussed the various ways in which we can quantify amounts and add them together. We have played practical games wherein the children have pretended to be various objects, such as sausages sizzling in a frying pan. First we collected the first amount of ‘sausages’, next we collected the second amount of ‘sausages’, then we added the two amounts together and counted the total amount of ‘sausages’ to find the answer. For example: “2 sausages + 2 sausages = 4 sausages in the pan”. We discovered that we can record addition sentences using pictorial representations, for example by adding together two amounts of dots: ‘• + • = •  ’ . We have also practised recording our addition sentences using numerals, for example: ‘5 + 5 = 10’.


This week, Class R have continued to play and explore provision centred around our learning focus: ‘Under the Sea’. In preparation for Music Night, the children have particularly enjoyed rehearsing ‘Under The Sea’ from ‘The Little Mermaid’ on the stage in the hall. We have practised singing the song using loud, clear voices; we have performed our dance moves confidently, and we have even created our own hats to wear during the performances.


During our ‘Playful Learning’ time, the children have enjoyed drawing and labelling ‘Under the Sea’ themed pictures in our role-play area; manipulating blue, scented playdough to create number sentences; re-telling the stories of ‘The Rainbow Fish’, ‘Tiddler’ and ‘Commotion in the Ocean’ in the tuff spot tray, and also using tweezers and sand timers to collect gems.


In Literacy this week, the children have been allocated a group for phonics. In these groups, the children work closely with a small group of their friends, as well as an adult from Class R, to develop their confidence and skills in reading and writing. As a result of this, the children have produced some exceptional writing this week! Some children are becoming increasingly confident in identifying the initial sounds in words; some children are beginning to form graphemes independently; some children have been using finger spaces, tricky words and full stops to write simple sentences. I am extremely proud of the children and the progress they have all made in phonics in such a short period of time.


In Mathematics, we have continued to apply our knowledge of numbers to 10 to perform and solve simple number sentences using ‘Kung Fu Maths’. The children are beginning to develop an understanding that when two amounts are added together, the total amount is larger. The children’s enthusiasm towards their learning in Mathematics has been fantastic; this is something that we aim to continue by exploring further practical games, wherein the children’s gross motor development is promoted.


In Physical Development this week, the children collectively changed into their PE kits for the very first time; this only took them 10 minutes! Mr Kay and the adults in Class R were all very impressed with how organised and independent the children were whilst changing. In both Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication & Language, the children have been encouraged to reflect on what makes them special and unique. During circle time, we have talked about the ways in which we are all different and why these differences are important; recognising that our differences make us who we are. 


Class R have completed their first half term in Reception, well done!


This week, following the interests of the children, we have begun exploring our new learning focus: ‘Under the Sea’. Our role-play area has transformed into an underwater writing den, and we have spent time reading our new focus texts for Literacy: ‘Tiddler’, ‘Commotion in the Ocean’ and ‘The Rainbow Fish’. The children have been extremely engaged and enthusiastic towards their learning this week and we are very excited to ‘dive in’ to our learning after half term.


In our phonics sessions, we have been revising the phonemes and graphemes we have learnt thus far. These are: ‘s’, ‘a’, ‘t’, ‘p’, ‘i’, ‘n’ and ‘m’. We have also begun to apply our phonic knowledge to segment and blend these sounds to read and write CVC words in a variety of contexts. For example, the children have been practising their writing and phonics by role-playing as teachers; they have also been writing ‘Under the Sea’ themed labels and captions in our role-play area. The children have produced some superb written work as a result of this.


In Mathematics, we have applied our knowledge of numbers to 10 to begin exploring simple addition. We have done this by taking our learning outdoors and beginning ‘Kung Fu Maths’ sessions. In these sessions, the children have developed their gross motor skills and moved their bodies to physically act out number sentences. This has resulted in some brilliant, independently written number sentences being produced during our independent learning time inside the classroom. 


In Personal, Social and Emotional Development, the children have enjoyed sharing their fantastic homework with one another. Linking to Communication & Language, this has also enabled the children to develop both their confidence and their oral fluency when articulating their thoughts and feelings verbally. In Physical Development, the children have enthusiastically taken part in both the daily mile, explored ‘Cultivating Futures’ during ‘Muddy Monday’ and have also begun joining the rest of the school outside for morning break time! In Expressive Arts & Design, linking to both our new learning focus and our ‘Music Night’ performance, the children have thoroughly enjoyed performing ‘Under the Sea’ from ‘The Little Mermaid’.


All of the Class R team are very proud of the children and the progress they have made so far this year. We would also like to thank both the children and their adults at home for the brilliant home learning we have received this half term.



This week in Class R, we have begun Phase 2 phonics. With the help of Fred, our friendly toy frog who can only speak in sounds, we have learnt the phonemes ‘s’, ‘a’ and ‘t’. Our primary focus has been learning how to pronounce the phonemes correctly, listening for these sounds at the beginning of words, and identifying whether these sounds are stretchy or bouncy when spoken out loud. The children have also loved singing our ‘Jolly Phonics’ songs during carpet time. This has supported them in remembering how to pronounce the phonemes correctly in a fun, memorable way.

In addition to this, we have also begun exploring pre-cursive letter formation. This is a very tricky skill, but the children have all persevered and shown fantastic enthusiasm towards their writing during their independent learning time! The children have also been taught letter formation rhymes to support them when practising pre-cursive letter formation. For example: ‘Up we go… around the apple and down the leaf’. To enhance our learning further, following the children’s excitement towards beginning phonics, we have ventured out to Cultivating Futures and collected a range natural objects that begin with our newly learnt sounds. We have then used these purposefully within our classroom. For example, the children chose to use the ‘sss-sticks’ and ‘sss-stones’ that they gathered to create a jungle for our small-world animal toys. 

In outdoor learning, both in class and during ‘Welly Wednesday’, the children have enjoyed exploring a variety natural resources and using them to create both letters and collages. For example, a child collected a range of stones, quantified them by counting the total number, then proceeded to use the stones to form the first letter of their name! Linking to both Communication & Language and Understanding the World, we have also considered the different textures of outdoor resources, how they differ and the reasons why. For example, why a leaf may feel crunchy, whereas a stone may feel smooth and solid.

In Mathematics, we have continued to practise numeral recognition and formation, as well as counting together as a class from 0 to 10. In addition to this, we have also begun to explore simple 2D shapes and discuss their properties. For example, the children have learnt that a circle is round, whereas a triangle is not round because it has three corners. The children are now beginning to develop their confidence in identifying the properties of 2D shapes in their surrounding environment.

Well done, Class R!


Having completed their second week in Reception, the Class R team are exceptionally proud of the children and how well they have all settled in to life at school. This week, continuing our focus on ‘Superheroes’, the children have enjoyed exploring the wide variety of learning opportunities accessible to them, both inside and outside our classroom.


In Mathematics this week, we have continued to practise counting from 0 to 10. The children have displayed fantastic enthusiasm when singing nursery rhymes together as a class; ‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I Caught a Fish Alive’ has proven to be a class favourite! Through activities such as this, the children are developing 1:1 correspondence; associating numbers with their corresponding numerals.


In Literacy, having spent last week familiarising ourselves with our ‘Superhero’ texts, the children have particularly enjoyed reenacting the various stories within their play. This has generated some fantastic questioning and vocabulary from the children. The children have also begun to show an interest in writing their names. We have practised writing our names using our individual name cards. This has enabled the children to independently label any work that they have completed or created.


During circle time, as a class, we have discussed our classroom rules and why they are important. The children were able to recognise that our classroom rules help us to make kind and caring choices. Their understanding of this is becoming increasingly evident in their day-to-day learning. The children are beginning to take great pride in following our classroom rules and working together to support one another; this is particularly fantastic to see!


In our outdoor learning, the children have enjoyed meeting our school’s chickens during this week’s ‘Welly Wednesday’ session. In our own outdoor learning area, the children have worked collaboratively to investigate their environment further; initiating mini-beast hunts, playing various ball games and building (pretend!) campfires in our sandpit.


Well done, Class R! You are all doing a fantastic job.


Class R have completed their first week at school and we are all extremely proud of how well the children have settled in! Following the interests of the children, our first learning focus this term is ‘Superheroes’.


The children have thoroughly enjoyed dressing up as superheroes in our ‘Superhero Den’ roleplay area. This has enabled them to develop their Communication and Language skills, utilise their imaginations within their play and develop new friendships with their peers. In Mathematics, we have begun using musical rhymes to practise counting from 0 to 10. This has helped the children to become familiar with sitting on the carpet, as a whole class, for short periods of time. For Literacy, we have also loved reading a variety of superhero themed stories; ‘Supertato’, ‘Superkid’ and ‘Superhero Hotel’. As a class, we have discussed the events and characters of each story that we have read. To link our learning to Personal, Social and Emotional Development, we have considered how certain events in these stories may have made particular characters feel, and the reasons why. In Expressive Arts & Design, we investigated colours and how they can be combined to create new colours. 


On Wednesday, the Class R children took part in their first ‘Welly Wednesday’ and were introduced to the various animals living at our school. Our Rabbit, Storm, was a particular favourite amongst the children! Mr Costello and Mrs Malyan were very impressed with the children’s involvement and behaviour during their ‘Welly Wednesday’ session. In our own outdoor learning area, linking to Understanding the World, the children have enjoyed exploring their exciting new surroundings. They have found the sand, water and mud kitchen areas particularly engaging. They have been working in teams to investigate the similarities and differences of various natural materials. Through these outdoor learning opportunities, to support their Physical Development, the children have also been experimenting with different ways of moving safely; running, jumping, crawling and climbing.


We are very excited to continue our adventures with the children next week!