Ducklings Class


Teacher: Miss Fox

Teaching Assistants: Mrs Cheeseborough and Mrs Dibden


Please click for the Ducklings Curriculum: Ducklings curriculum letter autumn 2019

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.

Whilst learning 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


Summer 2019


What a lovely half term we have had here in ducklings! At the start of the half term, we had fun with our new focus text ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle. Everyone enjoyed retelling the story together and acting it out, and we also had a lovely time writing about it, trying to use our phonic sounds to help us write short sentences and labels independently. We also explored the life cycle of a butterfly and everyone was able to confidently order a caterpillar’s life changes and discuss them.

In maths we have been learning all about different patterns and shapes. Everyone is much much better at naming different types of shapes and talking about them using language like ‘corners’, ‘edges’ and ‘sides’. We have also been learning to count in tens, and to add and subtract using a range of objects. We really are all blossoming into marvellous mathematicians!

In R.E. lessons we have been finding out lots more about Easter. The children now understand that Jesus died on the cross so that we can all have nice lives, and they are good at retelling the Easter story in full! We have also been imagining what heaven looks like as we know that is where God and Jesus now live together, and the children produced some lovely high quality drawings of heaven and wrote about their pictures too.

We had a brilliant time practising ‘This Little Light of Mine’ ready to perform at the Singing Festival at Christchurch Junior School as well, and on the day the class were well behaved and confident throughout their performance. A special thanks to Christchurch Junior School for hosting us and to Mrs Hinchliffe who offered us a wonderful singing workshop to help us get ready for the big day!


Spring 2019

We have had such a busy half term in Ducklings! We started with learning about the human body, labelling different parts of the body and learning what our bodies felt like when we have done plenty of exercise during P.E. lessons. We also learned that God is there to help us when we are sick and practised retelling the key stories of Jesus healing the blind and Jesus healing the disabled man. In our classroom role play area, we opened our own doctors role play and had a lovely time dressing up as doctors and nurses and healing our own patients.

On Shrove Tuesday, we made our own pancakes in class! We learned about why people would make pancakes before Lent and also followed a simple recipe to make a batter for the pancakes. The children helped with the weighing and were very sensible around the hot oven and pan as they tossed their own pancakes! They were also very good at decorating and eating their own pancakes! (The best part!) We then used our pictures from our pancake making to create our own film trailer based on the traditional tale ‘The Runaway Pancake’ during our curriculum week ‘Film Week’. We all enjoyed watching this trailer and seeing the trailers the other classes had produced.

In maths lessons, we have been practising weighing different objects with scales and trying to use language ‘heaviest’ and ‘lightest’. We have all become much more confident in recognising numbers to 20 and we are starting to use them to add and take away with much more independence! We are all much better at sorting, counting and measuring as well now.

Everyone has also been working very hard in phonics lessons and we have learned to segment and blend new phonics sounds with more independence. We have also been trying hard to use our phonic sounds to write labels, captions and short sentences based on our interests! We are much better at reading our writing back to ourselves independently now. We all enjoyed dressing up as book characters on World Book Day! We made our own bookmarks, discussed our favourite books, did lots of role play and, of course, read lots of lovely books!

When we started to learn about Lent, we wrote Lenten promises in letters to Jesus and God and posted them into our postbox! Everyone enjoyed doing this, and knew that we were giving up things because of Jesus’s time in the desert.

We then spent two weeks learning all about dinosaurs! We firstly read lots of stories about dinosaurs and looked at lots of non-fiction texts about dinosaurs to help us find out new facts. The children were good at labelling the key parts of the dinosaur’s bodies, making small world environments for dinosaurs to live in and using their phonic sounds to write their own dinosaur books!


Spring 2019


What a fantastic start to 2019 we have made here in ducklings! We have learned many new phonic sounds this half term, and have been practising spotting these in words, blending them to read word and using them in our writing. We have also focused on handwriting, making sure we are forming letters clearly. The children have enjoyed learning a range of new letter sounds, and are all trying hard to use these independently when reading books and playing word games!

We have also been practising recognising a range of numbers in maths lessons and have had a good try at recording these numbers correctly. Everyone is now much better at recognising numbers to 10 and 20, and we have worked hard to use reliable counting methods to match numerals with objects this half term! We have had fun learning to add, recording answers with confidence. We have also worked on recognising and creating patterns and recognising shapes and symmetry. We have also been trying to replicate the sounds of different weather using musical instruments this half term, as well as trying to count sounds and copy simple beats and rhythms.

The children are now much better at sitting quietly during class and whole school worships, and we have learned a new range of prayers and hymns this half term. We even had a try at writing our own prayer during our learning about Saint Valentine in February. Everyone enjoyed learning to retell and act out a range of stories about Jesus’s miracles, including ‘Jesus Feeds the 5000’ and ‘Jesus Heals the Blind Man’. We also learned more about candle safety when looking after our own candles during Candlemas.

We have been learning to use different technology with more confidence this half term, and we are all now much more confident in using paint and maths programmes on iPads, a CD player to play music or a story, headphone, Bee Bots and in controlling a mouse on a computer. In P.E. lessons we have been improving our gymnastic and balancing skills. We have tried a series of rolls, balanced beanbags and balls on different areas of our bodies and enjoyed moving in different ways. The children loved taking their P.E. learning outside to our school trim trail to show the different ways they could move over the equipment!

During our topic of ‘winter’, the children loved creating snowy pictures with paint programmes on an iPad, using cutting techniques to create snowflakes and art materials. We were all delighted when we had a sprinkling of snow in our outdoor area and everyone enjoyed experiencing this different weather. We all took part in RSPB Birdwatch week and were busy spotting a range of different birds in our outdoor area, recording our findings on clipboards. We made ‘lardy balls’ for the hungry birds, combining a range of ingredients and hiding them for the birds to find. The children described the feel of the different ingredients well and no one really enjoyed the ‘disgusting’ squidgy lard!

During our ‘Handa’s Surprise’ week, we learned to retell the story using picture cards, a story map and a story sack. We also conducted our own ‘fruit experiment’ in which we tried a range of exotic fruit and recorded whether or not we liked them into a table, evaluating them at the end. We also studied the text ‘The Tiger who Came to Tea’, and wrote about the story, trying to use the story language.



Autumn 2018



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.