☰ A Day in Reception by Mr Smith

A Day in Reception by Mr Smith

Posted on: February 12th 2016 | Category:

My Day in Reception

By Mr Smith

On Tuesday 26th January, I was lucky enough to spend a day in Reception over at our Montessori House, Princes Avenue site with Miss Matthews, who has had such a positive impact on Reception since her start in September, and Miss Patten, who joined the school after the winter break and has brought even more great ideas for improving the learning of the children even further!

I wanted to gain a better understanding of how our children develop in the younger year groups, and all the work they (and my colleagues) have done to be ready for the Year 2 curriculum (my current year group). Norfolk House are very committed to teacher development, and promote staff identifying their own targets and ways in which to develop themselves.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the environment that the new teachers have created. Everything has been moved around, creating ‘learning zones’ to hone and develop the different developmental areas as specified in the early years curriculum. The atmosphere is calm and purposeful. The children are highly independent, moving around safely, getting their own equipment, and interacting with their peers in a mature way!

The first lesson I watched was English. Having seen other Reception classes in other schools as part of my Teacher Training, I couldn’t believe the level of writing that the children produced! Miss Matthews and Miss Patten have worked hard to implement the educational expert Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’, whereby the children combine actions and spoken language to plan a story and then, once the story is secure in their memory and they have orally rehearsed the structure of sentences and vocabulary, the children write it! Some of the language the children were using was of a very high level indeed for their age - impressive!

After an excellent phonics lesson where the children worked in groups appropriate to their individual stages of phonetic understanding, I watched mathematics, in which the children were continuing their work on addition. The teacher modelling was really clear, practical and fun, and had a big impact on the learning of the children when they went to perform their tasks. Some children were rolling two die and independently adding them together using practical resources, while others were conducting an investigation into how to make a value in different ways (such as 5 = 2 + 3 or 1 + 4 or 5 + 0 etc) which served to really enrich their understanding of addition. I saw the children make a lot of progress in these lessons, and they really enjoyed it too.

After a delicious lunch of chicken fajitas, the children began their self-initiated tasks in the afternoon. One group chose to build a rocket, linked to their learning on space this term. I ‘listened to the learning’ as the group decided upon a leader, delegated tasks, and met problems with solutions! A little while later, I sat down with a boy who was deep in thought and drawing on large pieces of paper. “What are you doing?” I enquired. “I am being an architect,” he replied, “I am designing a town. Here are the plans for the houses, and the supermarket, and the fire station in case there are any fires. Oh, hang on, I need a prison for the robbers, and a police station.” His level of thought about how societies work together, not to mention the level of technical drawing, was enthralling to watch! The next group of children had decided to write fact files about different planets, and were enjoying reading them to me and their peers (little did they know that they were also rehearsing the skills of reading and writing at the same time!). The room was full of energy, and the children had been facilitated skillfully to develop in individual, purposeful ways. The level of teamwork, social interaction and independence was great to observe!

I know how proud all of the parents will be when they get to see the work the children have produced on the theme of ‘Space’ this term at their space event, showcasing all of their work, this week!

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