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Bitterne Manor Primary School

Bitterne Manor

Primary School

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Jack Frost

This topic introduces our children to the idea of seasons and the natural changes as well as celebrations that happen within Autumn and Winter.  As we look towards Christmas, we will also think about Father Christmas’s home in Lapland and make comparisons between here and Lapland. 


We will be exploring the following texts:

Communication and Language

Our children will use their communication and language skills through a variety of discussions we have during this topic.  We will be sharing our ideas and knowledge about different seasons, and celebrations and events such as Remembrance Day, Bonfire Night and Christmas, as well as some of the other seasonal traditions pupils in our class who are from different countries celebrate.  On our Autumn Walk, we will discuss the changes we see around us.  Pupils will think about shapes and colours when learning about Bonfire Night. When reading ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’ children can talk about how we can make sure we are seen in the dark.  




Personal, Social and Emotional Development

‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’ and ‘ Bonfire Night’ will open up discussions about our fears and how we can find comfort in others or overcome our fears by finding out more about them.  Remembrance Day will lead us to think about what the word ‘respect’ means and how we can show respect towards objects and living things such as wildlife and people in the past and in other cultures.




Physical Development

During our P.E. lessons pupils will use dancing scarves and ribbons to move like fireworks, thinking about speed, levels and shapes they can make.  There will be many opportunities for children to continue to develop their fine motor skills, whether it’s through making poppy bracelets, bird feeders or Christmas decorations.





We will continue to learn new sounds through our phonics sessions.  Pupils will practise their blending skills to enable them to read short phonetic words independently.  They will begin to bring key words home to learn to read and spell. These are words they cannot sound out, such as ‘the’ and ‘said’.


We will look at the language used in our focus texts, discussing what new words mean and why they are interesting. Pupils will also be introduced to words such as ‘title’, ‘author’, ‘illustrator’, ‘fiction’, ‘non-fiction’ and ‘contents’ when looking at books. Children will be given opportunities to order and retell stories, such as ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’ and the Christmas story.  Pupils will also learn some new songs linked to seasons and Christmas.


Pupils will continue to develop their literacy skills throughout our provision.  They may be writing instructions to make bird feeders or for planting bulbs, recipes in the mud kitchen, Christmas lists, letters or cards. Our children might decide to retell some of the stories we have read through roleplay, small world or use puppets. 





Our daily morning registration and calendar maths, as well as our focused afternoon sessions, will continue.  Pupils will explore repeating patterns, continue patterns and produce their own.  They will become more confident in using mathematical vocabulary, such as 1 more and 1 less.  When reading the book ‘Leaf Man’, we will look at directional language in more detail.  Through looking at the seasons, pupils will gain a better understanding of time.


Maths is present within our continuous provision also. In our roleplay there will be opportunities to experiment with size and weight.  Through producing their own Christmas wrapping paper, pupils will explore shape and pattern.




Understanding the World

We will discuss the natural changes we have seen as we go through Autumn and into Winter and will learn about how animals keep themselves safe during the colder seasons (including hibernation).  Hamble Hedgehogs Charity will come to visit, bringing some prickly friends and lots of interesting facts with them. Pupils can share their experiences of Bonfire night, and learn why this event takes place and how we can keep safe during any linked events. Our children will learn that Southampton is part of the county of Hampshire, and that Hampshire is part of England.  Through investigating maps, they will gain a better understanding of where England is in comparison to the rest of the world.  We will also focus on Lapland and where it is.  Pupils will use the internet and books to learn more about Lapland, including climate, landscape, traditional food, clothing and housing. As part of our Religious Education, pupils will learn why and how Christians celebrate Christmas, and will have the opportunity to take part in our play, retelling the Christmas story.  We will also observe how things are different at night compared to during the day, such as the animals that are about, and how plants and flowers change during these times.  The children will be thinking about natuarl processes such as how ice is formed, how it melts, and why we have shaddows.




Expressive Arts and Design

Pupils will experiment with many different materials and how they can be manipulated to form a desired effect. Using clay and chosen natural materials, our children can produce a hedgehog.  Through a variety of mark making resources, such as chalks, felt tips, paint and crayons, tissue paper and biodegradable glitter, pupils can record their thoughts and experiences of Bonfire night. There will be the opportunity to produce their own Christmas wrapping paper, using patterns and printing to do so.  As we get closer to Christmas, pupils can help to set up as a post office.  Here they can design, make and wrap toys and other parcels.  There will be letters to Father Christas, Christmas cards, addresses to write.   




What you can do at home to support your child 

Please continue to read books you may have at home with your child, as well as the school library and reading books that are sent home.  Can your child predict what the book may be about by looking at the title and cover?  Once they have read the book, if it is a story can they tell you how it started, the main happening and how it ended?  If you feel confident to do so, you can model using book language such as ‘title’, ‘author’ and ‘contents’.

Your child will continue to bring ‘sound of the day’. Please ask them to teach it to you, they can tell you the name, sound, action and sing the song!  Can your child write the letter, following our school handwriting policy? You can write some words containing the sound for them to sound out? 


Your child will begin to bring ‘Key Words’ home.  These are words that cannot be sounded out.  Please help your child to learn to read and spell these words.  Suggested activities for this will also come home.  Little and often always works a treat!


Please continue to look at your child’s 'Time to Talk' book for their weekly 'Discussion Prompt'.  These 'discussions' are to develop listening, speaking and language skills.  It would be helpful if you noted down key thoughts and ideas talked about.  However, if this is too time consuming, please initial the 'Discussion Prompt' to indicate it has been completed.


Once a half term your child will bring home a 'Connecting to Nature'.  These are tasks you may like to do at home to encourage communication skills and a love for the outdoors.


We hope you are enjoying your maths packs.  If you feel your child will benefit for anything different, please feel free to talk to one of the Year R team.