We would like to welcome you and your children to Blackwell School and the Reception year. We are looking forward to spending a happy and busy year together!

Autumn Term Topics - ‘Amazing Me and ‘To Infinity and Beyond’

Upon your child’s arrival and within the first six weeks we will be carrying out some baseline assessments in order to establish what stage of development your child is at and therefore help to ensure we are able to plan effectively to support and challenge them.

This term the children will be undertaking the topics ‘Amazing Me and ‘To Infinity and Beyond’. Through these topics the children will develop their knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes in all seven areas of learning and development within the Early Years Foundation Stage. We will begin by spending lots of time getting to know each other, sharing their ‘All About Me’ books and celebrating ‘Good News and Wow Moments’ from home. After half term we will be journeying into space, enjoying stories such as Whatever Next and Man on the Moon. We will then turn our thoughts to Christmas through the story of the first Christmas and a range of Christmas stories. The children will also be learning about harvest time and autumn and the changes in the seasons that we see around us. Although these will be starting points for the children’s learning, we also believe strongly in following children’s interests and ideas.

Year Group Web Pages

On our school website there is a special area dedicated to each year group. This area will be updated each half term in order to let you know about all of the lovely learning we will be doing in class. We will use our year group page to keep you updated about any learning activities you may like to try at home as well as links to resources such as the ‘Song of Sounds’ song we will be using in our phonics sessions.

Outdoor Play

Come rain or shine, the children in Year R are provided with daily opportunities to play and learn in our enclosed outdoor area. It is, therefore, important that your child has his / her coat with them on cold, dull or wet days. Also, a pair of named wellies that can be left at school would be very helpful and ensures that your child can get thoroughly involved with these outside activities.

P.E. Lesson

Our P.E. lessons will be on a Tuesday morning, therefore, please could you ensure that your child has his / her P.E. kit (blue shorts, blue t shirt and plimsolls) in school on those days. It is worth leaving their P.E kit in school and we will send them home for a wash at the end of each term or half term. Also, if your child has pierced ears, please could you remove any earrings before school so that your child can join in with our P.E. activities.

We encourage the children to get changed for P.E. independently. Therefore, if your child is not used to getting dressed / undressed by him / herself, please could you practise these skills with your child so that s/he can manage confidently and happily at school.


From time to time accidents do occur. Therefore, please could you ensure that your child has some changes of underwear and socks in his / her P.E. bag for such emergencies.

If we need to use spare clothing from school please could these be washed and returned as soon as possible as they run out very quickly.

Water Bottles

We encourage the children to bring in a plastic bottle of water to drink in the classroom. This is in addition to their lunch-time drink if they are having a packed lunch. This ensures that the children have easy access to water throughout the day. Please ensure that your child does not bring in squash or juice for his / her classroom drink as this can make for a sticky classroom when spillages occur.

Naming items

In order to avoid the frustration of losing items and having to search through the lost property box, please could you ensure that all items of your child’s school uniform and P.E. kit, his/her coat, wellies, bookbag and water bottle are clearly named. Many thanks.  

Merit Awards

Blackwell operates a merit award system across the whole school. The children in Year R will be awarded merits for being kind and helpful and trying their best with their learning and their behaviour. We use an online merit system called ‘Class Dojo’ and the children will receive Dojos as a positive reward. Once they have collected a given number of Dojos then they will then receive a certificate in assembly as follows:

Number of Merit stickers Certificate Gained
20 Bronze
60 Silver
100 Gold
145 Platinum
195 Ruby
245 Sapphire
300 Emerald

‘Reach for the Stars’ Behaviour System

Blackwell operates a ‘Reach for the Stars’ behaviour system to promote and encourage positive behaviour within the school. Each child starts the day on ‘earth’ and s/he aims to reach the ‘stars’ through his/her positive behaviour. If s/he reaches the ‘stars’ they are rewarded with a merit/Dojo. If a child does not behave appropriately s/he will be moved from ‘earth’ to a ‘cloud’. Support and encouragement will then be given to the child as appropriate in order to improve his/her behaviour and ‘reach the stars’.

Star of the Week and Class Bear

We will choose one child from each class to be our star of the week on a Friday. These children will be chosen for their hard efforts, positive behaviour and for trying their very best. The star of the week will be awarded a certificate in assembly and will bring home the class bear to spend the weekend in your home. Please add some pictures or write about the lovely things your child does with the class bear over the weekend in the bear’s diary.

Learning Journals

We will be using online software called Tapestry to create an online Learning Journal to record your child’s learning and development over the course of the year. Photographs of your child engaging in different learning experiences will form part of the Learning Journal. After the ‘Six Weeks

In’ meeting you will receive an email inviting you to create an account for Tapestry so that you can access your child’s Learning Journal. Please log on as frequently as you wish and you are welcome to comment on observations as well as add your own photos and videos from home. Your child will also have a Learning Journal book where we will put significant pieces of work which you will be able to look at during parents’ evening and Open Class afternoons.

Sound Books

This week we will start learning letter sounds and your child will bring home a sound folder. You can look at the sound together at home and your child can have a go at forming the letter, practising the sound it makes, find things around the house which begin with the sounds and drawing them on the page. They could even have a go at writing some simple words if they want to. Please keep the sound folders in your child’s book bag so that we can add in the new sounds as and when we teach them. We are following the phonics scheme called Song of Sounds which you can refer to on youtube at home.

Playtime and Reading Buddies

Once the children are fully settled we will also spend a weekly session in the library reading with a Key Stage 2 reading buddy. All children in the past have built up a strong relationship with their reading buddies and we anticipate that this will prove to be a success again this year.

Show and Tell

Each week your child will have the chance to bring in an item from home that they can share with the class. This could be something very special, a photo or a souvenir from a day trip or holiday. They will need to tell the class about it and give some information so a quick rehearse at home is always helpful. Show and Tell will be on a Friday afternoon and we will rotate boys one week and girls the next as we often have lots to get through. We will start on Friday 13th September and will start with boys.

Show and Tell Timetable

13th September 2019 Boys
20th September 2019 Girls
27th September 2019 Boys
4th October 2019 Girls
11th October 2019 Boys
18th October 2019 Girls
25th October 2019 Boys
8th November 2019 Girls
15th November 2019 Boys
22nd November 2019 Girls
29th November 2019 Boys
6th December 2019 Girls


Good News

If your child has some exciting news to share with the class then you can write this on a good news speech bubble which will then be added to their learning journals. We will put a speech bubble in your child’s book bag and as and when you need more please ask the class Teacher or Teaching Assistant.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries or concerns regarding any information within this letter. We are always very grateful of an extra pair of hands in the classroom and so if you would like to help with the children’s learning, for example, with reading, a creative activity, working with a maths or literacy game or sharing a specific expertise which you possess, then please let us know.

The Reception Team