Ducklings Class


Teacher: Miss Fox

Teaching Assistants: Mrs Cheeseborough and Mrs Dibden


Please click for the Ducklings Curriculum: Duckling Curriculum Letter – Autumn 2018

Phonics Stay and Play   / Learning to Read and Write


As children grow older, they begin to understand more about the sounds of our language. This is an important stage as the children’s ears are tuning in to all the different sounds around them. Playing with sounds and tuning your child’s ears into sounds will develop their ability to hear different sounds which links to reading and writing.

Ways to support your child at home:

  • Help your child move to the rhythm of a song or rhyme
  • Try breaking down simple words when you are giving instructions or asking questions e.g. ‘Where is the c-a-t cat?’
  • Alliteration is a lot of fun to play around with. Your child’s name can be a good place to start, for example, say: ‘Jolly Jessie jumped’.
  • Make up nonsense stories together using lots of alliteration

Following on from this is oral blending and segmenting and linking the sounds that can be heard to letters.

In Reception we follow a phonics teaching programme called ‘Letters and Sounds’. It builds on the activities the children have already experienced in their pre-school setting and prepares them for early reading and writing.

We use ‘Jolly Phonics’ actions and songs to help the children learn the alphabet letter sounds. The attached sheet shows the actions we use to introduce and practise each new sound. The sounds are not introduced in alphabetical order but in groups that allow children to start to build up simple words. We run a daily phonics session where we use fun activities to learn and reinforce each sound and use them to form words.

Jolly Phonics Actions Sheet

We encourage the children to form these letters in a variety of ways such as drawing in the air, drawing in sand and using whiteboards, before writing on paper. We use a cursive script when writing but we also use print around the classroom so that children become familiar with both types.

Whilst learning the sounds, children are encouraged to hear initial sounds in words. They will then progress to hearing more sounds in words, blending and segmenting sounds, which is an important skill for reading and writing.

Blending is a skill for reading. The separate sounds (phonemes) of the word are spoken aloud, in order, all through the word, and are then merged together into the whole word. We use ‘sound buttons’ under each letter which are ‘pressed’ as each letter is spoken and then swiped across to merge the sounds. For example the adult would say c-a-t = cat.

Segmenting is a skill for spelling. The whole word is spoken aloud, and then broken up into its separate sounds (phonemes) in order, all through the word. For example, the adult would say cat = c-a-t.

Once children become confident hearing these sounds they start to use magnetic letters or letter cards to link the sounds to letters and build up words (segmenting) or read simple words (blending).

To aid this, we use words that are spelt phonetically such as ‘cat’, ‘dog’ and ‘map’. We also teach ‘wizzy words’. These need to be learnt on sight as they often cannot be sounded out or are used frequently in books e.g. no, the, and. We have attached a sheet of these ‘high frequency words’.

Ways to support your child at home


  • Read every day to and with your child
  • Collect a variety of pens and pencils and keep them handy to use
  • Bring stories to life using different voices
  • Let your child read what they would like – books, comics, catalogues
  • Leave books around the house for your child to dip into
  • Make flash cards


  • Make up words together using magnetic letters/fridge magnets
  • Make up a story about one of their favourite toys. You write for them, repeating the sentences as you write. When it is complete, they can draw pictures to go with it.
  • Look at writing when you are out and about – try and read any of the words or identify any of the letters.
  • Talk about the letters they have been learning this week


If your child is reluctant to read or write it is important not to worry; the important thing is to keep on sharing books and talking together. They will often choose to write when they have no real reason to.

We hope that you have found some of these ideas useful and feel confident to try some out!

Useful websites:

Interactive games:

National Bookstart Scheme:

This website provides information about the national bookstart scheme and information about sharing books with your child. 

Speaking and Listening Skills:

This website provides information for parents and teachers on the importance of speaking and listening skills for young children’s development. Although it is aimed at early communication development, there is lots of useful information and material. 


Welcome to Ducklings Class





We have had such a lovely half term in ducklings! We have all enjoyed investigating the change in seasons and have had a lovely time crunching through leaves, talking about how the world is changing around us and even making our own tin foil autumn leaf rubbings! It has been much more windy and wet at St Josephs, and this new weather has given us lots of opportunities to think about what sort of clothes we might need to wear when we are exploring the outdoors! The whole class also enjoyed experimenting with different art materials to make kites to fly in the high winds!

We would like to say a special thank you to the lovely firefighters at Christchurch Fire Station who visited us this half term with their fire engine. The children enjoyed learning about the different parts of the fire engine and the equipment and clothing a firefighter uses. They were also very excited to be able to sit in a real fire engine, and enjoyed asking a range of questions about the role of a firefighter.

In phonics we have continued to learn a range of single letter sounds, digraphs and high frequency words. We have enjoyed using our phonic sounds in our reading and writing, and everyone in our class has also been practising their handwriting and letter formation! Lots of us are also very proud of ourselves as we have moved up a level in our reading as well. As well as reading a wide range of stories and non-fiction texts, we have been following recipes during cookery lessons. We were delighted with the delicious things we have learned to make!

As well as practising our counting and number recognition skills, we have also been measuring lots of things this half term! Everyone is much better at using language ‘short, middle and long’ and using non-standard units such as cubes to measure all sorts of objects! We have also been working with 3D shapes this half term, and have had lots of fun building with shapes and exploring their corners, edges and faces. As if this wasn’t enough, we had a fantastic time during ‘money week’ when we learned to recognise different coins and used them to buy things in our toy shop role play.

In P.E. lessons we have been improving our ability to move in different ways and improving our sense of balance. We have taken our learning into different areas this half term and enjoyed exploring balancing across different equipment in our local park and when using the school’s trim trail.

We all really enjoyed using art materials to make our own poppies, and in learning more about why we wear poppies in November. As this year marked 100 years since the end of World War 1, we learned a special poem about poppies which we performed confidently during our school Remembrance Day liturgy.

We have had fun experimenting with colour and texture this half term. Though the children have had a range of experiences now with different materials, they have said they most

liked learning to make new colours using paint and trying to make their own slime using flour and hair conditioner! We also made some brilliant junk models using recycled materials and the children liked finding new ways to join their models together, testing the materials they needed to use.

As we started to get ready for Christmas, we learned more about advent wreaths and have been looking after our very own advent wreath that Mrs Smith kindly made us. The class behaved beautifully during our Advent Liturgy, and we have learned many new hymns and prayers. We have also been learning more about the Christmas story in R.E. and practising for the Christmas play, in which we played the very important roles of sheep.


2018 – Autumn term



What a busy first half term we have had here in Ducklings! The children have settled into school life very quickly and soon made lots of new friends. They picked up the routines of the classroom and have all been very grown up about following the school rules.

We started the school year by learning more about ‘Ourselves and our families’. We talked about our families and enjoyed learning to write our names and the names of the people around us. We have been practising our storytelling skills this half term, and have focused on 3 main stories – ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘Stick Man’ by Julia Donaldson and the traditional tale ‘The Enormous Turnip’. The children used props and puppets very well to retell these stories, and liked using a range of repetitive story language as well!

In R.E. we have been learning about how God created the world, and the children were especially interested in examining a range of fish that God made and drawing detailed sketches of these animals on our ‘Fishy Friday’.

In maths lessons we have been learning to recognise numerals, count to different numbers and to count sets of objects. The children all engaged well with learning to continue and create different 2 and 3 step repeating patterns using a range of maths equipment, and they can also now recognise a wider range of 2D and 3D shapes. We have improved our ability to describe and discuss these shapes using shape language too.

We welcomed the Life Education Bus into school and learned more about the different parts of our bodies and how to keep ourselves healthy and safe. We also enjoyed our visit from John Sweet, a firefighter from Christchurch Fire Station. He gave us important information about how to stay safe around the home and what to do if we ever have a fire in school or at our house.

Near the end of the half term, the children were delighted to welcome their parents to our phonics mornings, in which they were able to show off their reading skills and give their parents a taste of what they are learning at school! We would like to thank everyone who came, it was our pleasure to have you in the classroom.

We are very proud of our new Ducklings – they have worked so hard and are very ready for a week’s rest in the half term before undertaking more learning adventures together.


2018 – Summer Term


Ducklings Trip to Longdown Dairy Farm



We spent a wonderful day together at Longdown Dairy Farm! We had a great time holding chicks and bunnies and learning about goats and pigs. We examined animals such as horses and alpacas in larger paddocks, and enjoyed a very bumpy, fun-filled ride on the tractor and trailer! We then practised bottle feeding baby calves and goats – even the children who were nervous about feeding these bigger animals had a good go and were very brave! We then played ‘guinea pig fishing’ where we attached a carrot to a fishing rod and fed them by being very still. Everyone loved this and became very excited when they had managed to ‘catch a guinea pig!’ The children also liked feeding a naughty pony called Chesney, and looking at the different birds and baby donkey on the farm. The children learned lots about how to care for different animals and what they ate, and practised good hygiene when they washed their hands and examined how well they had cleaned them in the ‘germinator’ UV light machine! Our lovely tour guide Kerry was very kind and gave us lots of new information about the animals and the farm! By this time we were very hungry and everyone was very excited about having lunch! We then had a wonderful time playing in the park before getting the bus home. The children were all extremely well behaved, sensible and polite and they were a credit to the school – well done, ducklings!

A special thanks to Mrs Dauncey and Mrs Delgado for helping us on our school trip today – you were both amazing as always and the children loved having you with us!


Sports Day


We had a wonderful Sports Day together this week and all of the children joined in and participated very well! They tried their hardest at all the activities and showed a great level of sportsmanship – they were pleased for others when their friends won and were happy if they won themselves as well! Well done for a wonderful first Sports Day, Ducklings!


Summer Writing



We have been focusing on writing for a range of purposes including messages, thank you cards and creating our own non-fiction animal books. The children have tried to use their phonic sounds in their writing more independently and have tried hard to improve their handwriting. We are very pleased with the lovely work they have produced!

In maths we have been counting in tens and ones and trying hard to record our maths work. The children have gotten a lot better at reading addition and subtraction number sentences and solving these problems using numicon to help them! We have been doing more work with 3D shapes and everyone can now name the shapes with much more independence!

We have been working with watercolour paints and experimenting with how to make new colours. The children produced some lovely paintings and liked mixing new colours to use!

The class did a wonderful job performing ‘Help!’ by the Beatles at Christchurch Junior School during the Christchurch Singing Festival. They performed confidently, sand beautifully and behaved very well! They also really liked going on the coach to the school. Well done, ducklings!


Father John visits Ducklings


We were lucky to have a wonderful visit from Father John, the priest at St Joseph’s Catholic Church this half term. He came to show us the different Clerical clothing he wears at different times, to tell us about the special ‘toolkit’ (including candles, a Bible etc.) that he uses to do his job and to tell us about the different parts of his job!

Luca was very good at modelling some of the clothes that Father John wears as part of his job, and he was even brave enough to lead us in a prayer with help from Father John!

The Ducklings thought of these questions at the ‘question station’ throughout the day to ask Father John:

Do you read the Bible in bed? – Amelia

Which days of the week do you visit our school? – Harvey

Do you like coming to assemblies? – Luca

Do you work every day – do you get any days off? – Bethany

How many different outfits do you have? – Bradlee

Have you ever seen a tarantula? – Paddy

Do you like to cook? What’s your favourite food?

Do you wear jumpers under your Priest’s clothes? Do you wear t-shirts under your clothes? – Arizona

Do you have a pet? – Luca

Do you like cats? – Paddy

Do you like dogs? – Finlay and Annalise

Have you ever seen a pirate ship? – Yafet

Have you ever seen a crocodile? – Quinn

Father John gave us great answers to all of these questions (the ones related to his role as a Priest and the ones related to his own experiences – such as the crocodile) and we all learned a lot more about the role of the Priest in the church and community! A huge thank you to Father John for leading us through such an enjoyable and interesting visit! (The Ducklings also chose some presents for Father John too – we hope you like your fancy new cookbook!)


Spring term


  • Ducklings Class Spring Term 2018

Well – what a wonderfully busy half term we have had in Ducklings! We kicked off our new year by writing sentences about our Christmas holiday, illustrating this writing with pictures. We also continued recognising numbers to 20, ordering them and practising reliable counting methods in maths sessions, enjoying finding different objects around the classroom to count!

As our topic ‘Winter’ began, we enjoyed spending time outside wrapped up in our hats, gloves and scarves. Everyone liked taking part in our ‘Understanding the World’ wintery walks and looking for signs of ice and frost, and discussing the changes we could see around us! We enjoyed learning more about our key text ‘Stick Man’ by Julia Donaldson, and used a range of materials to create our own stick people. We then used our Forest School area to act out the story of ‘Stick Man’ alongside others, using story language to help us.

We then moved on to design our own characters using junk modelling materials as we took part in a whole school Big Write based on a music video. We used our phonic sounds to write words and short sentences about the characters we have created, and tried to write with independence.

Everyone enjoyed learning more about symmetry and using paint and art materials to create beautiful symmetrical butterflies. We also used our sorting and counting skills to investigate the question ‘Do all boxes of smarties have the same number of colours in them?’ We sorted together, examined the results, recorded them and decided that not all boxes of smarties have the same numbers of colours in them!

In P.E. lessons we have been learning to dance to a beat, and to copy dance moves in a sequence. We are now very good at performing children’s yoga moves to a range of music and in performing a dance called ‘Gummy Bears’ together. In our music lessons we have been undertaking a ‘Performers’ topic where we looked at videos of live performers and observed which music we liked personally (and why) and which musical instruments the band members used. Although we listened to a wide range, ‘Help’ by ‘The Beatles’ was the Ducklings’ favourite. This led to the children making their own musical instruments using junk modelling materials, and performing with each other to make their own bands!

In R.E. we have learned more about the love that Jesus offers us all, and thought about the love we show our friends and family. We learned more about two key Bible stories this half term – ‘The Disabled Man’ and ‘Feeding the 5000’ and we even had our own ‘Feeding the 5000’ feast in the classroom! We were all excited to host a wonderful visit from Father John, and were all extremely interested in finding out more about the life of a Priest. We also learned lots about how to stay safe around candles during Candlemas. During our Other Faiths week the children were fascinated to learn more about Muslims and how they pray, and particularly enjoyed examining a prayer mat.

We also took part in RSPB school’s bird watch week and enjoyed making lardy balls to feed birds around our outdoor area. We hid the balls in places a predator wouldn’t spot them and watched eagerly as they were eaten by a range of birds. We then kept a chart on the interactive whiteboard to track how many of each kind of bird we saw. Throughout the week we also watched for birds using our own bird charts, built nests for the birds in the forest school, researched the birds that migrated for the winter and those that didn’t, built bird baths for our birds around the outdoor area and read lots of information books about birds! We also researched a range of animals we like using non-fiction texts and Espresso videos and wrote our own animal books!


Autumn term



We have had such a busy second half to the Autumn term here in Ducklings! In maths we have been learning about 2D and 3D shapes. We have been building different models using 3D shapes, trying to build our own nets, using shape names and counting corners and edges. We have also become more confident in recognising numbers to 20 and are going to continue to work on this in the New Year.

In phonics we have been learning a range of new sounds and high frequency words (‘the’, ‘I’, ‘and’) and we are practising these words in our reading and writing. Nearly everyone in our class can now write their first name correctly and we are enjoying signing our pictures and work neatly! We have had a lovely time writing lists of disciples in R.E. lessons, designing Christmas stockings for our friends and family and – of course – writing Christmas cards!

Near the end of the term we all started to get very excited about Advent and Christmas! We have learned lots of new prayers and songs and enjoyed taking part in our own Key Stage 1 Advent Liturgy with Deacon Hugh. We also had fun performing as ‘Disco Stars’ on the stage during our Nativity Production ‘Lights, Camel, Action!’ We enjoyed finding out more about ‘The Christmas Story’ and used a lovely nativity set to retell the story ourselves. On the last day of term we also enjoyed having our very own birthday party for Jesus!


What a fantastic first half term we have had in ducklings! The children settled into the classroom well and have made lots of new friends. In ducklings, we have been busy learning new phonic sounds and trying to blend the sounds together to read words. We have also been practising making marks, writing letters and our own names. We all enjoyed our ‘One Upon a Time’ fortnight topic, where we focused on using story language and retelling traditional tales. We transformed our outdoor role play area into Goldilocks and the Three Bears house and used our acting skills to retell the story!

In maths we have been focusing on numbers, counting, patterns and shapes. We have showed off our counting skills and been practising counting objects and pictures reliably. After lots of work, we are now more confident with reading and writing numbers to 10, and can now start to use these numbers with more independence. We have also been learning the names to more 2D shapes and have been making repeating patterns with objects, colours and shapes.

We all really enjoyed our curriculum week focusing on the serve element of our school visit. We were pleased to welcome visits from CAFOD, Mr Belcher (our school caretaker) and Mr Siebrits (from RNLI), and enjoyed asking questions about their jobs! We found out more about the equipment people need to use in their jobs and how they serve our community. In R.E. lessons, we have also been thinking about the jobs we would like to do when we grow up and how we can help our school community now. We were also excited to welcome Tricia and Harold from the Life Education bus, and we learned more about what is healthy and unhealthy for our bodies!

Everyone has worked very hard this half term and we are all looking forward to the learning adventures that next half term will bring!