Sunday, 4 October 2015

Short updates and News from the classes

Still no news on telephone or internet so please continue to use any of above numbers for texts re absence or urgent calls  or email  In this week’s blog:-

·      Writing Workshop for Year 1 parents– Foxes and Badgers classes
·      Harvest Service
·      Reception Applications for September 2016
·      School Photographs
·      Healthy Eating
·      Coats, sweatshirts/cardigans and naming clothes
·      Parking
·      Parents Evenings
·      News from Hedgehog class
·      News from Owls and Squirrels classes
·      News from Foxes and Badger classes
·      News from Forest School

Writing Workshop for Y1 parents – Thursday 15th October  16:45 – 17:45
Now your children have begun writing, we thought you might find it useful to spend some time looking at what happens next – how is writing developed; what are the expectations of writing for the end of Year 1; what can you do to support your child’s writing development; what else, besides physical writing, do we do to support writing development? Please bring your Year 1 child along too as they will be able to show you the things they do to take the next steps in writing.

Harvest Service
You are all welcome to join us for our Harvest Service on Friday 16th October in the school hall at 2:30pm.  We will again be collecting food for the Swindon FoodBank and would ask that the children bring in any tinned goods with a £1 donation to help support the running costs of the FoodBank.

Reception Applications for September 2016
Do you or a friend have a child who is due to start in Reception in 2016 (who are 4 before the 31st August 2016)?  If so, the applications are now open and the deadline is 15th January 2016 – go to for how to apply.  We have open days every Friday in October (term time only) – please contact us to book a place on a tour.

School Photographs
The photographer is in school on the 14th October and will be available to take additional photographs for sibling groups where some of the siblings are not at Tadpole Farm from 3:30pm. 

Healthy Eating
As you do at home, we, in school, like to encourage the children to eat a healthy and balanced diet. If your child brings a packed lunch to school we ask that it does not contain sweets, chocolate or sugary drinks. We recommend they have a small sandwich, some fruit and a yoghurt. We also ask that, if the children bring a bottle to keep in the classroom, it must contain just water and not juice/squash.

Coats, school sweatshirts/cardigans and naming clothes
We go out in all weathers so please make sure your child always has a coat I school – it can blow a chilly wind on this site even on a sunny day!
Sadly, we have already had a couple of school jumpers go missing. Please make sure your child’s jumper is named and that you just have a quick check when putting the washing on that it is their named jumper. When all the jumpers look the same the children can get them muddled up from time to time. If you do find they have the wrong jumper pop it back into us and we will swap them over!
Getting changed for PE is a time when clothes may get mixed up (until the children have learnt to make neat piles for their own clothes J) so could we ask that you check that all PE kit and uniform items are named – thank you.

A big thank you to all those of you who have been parking in the lay-bys or in the school car park.  It really makes a big difference to child safety and to how we are looking after the neighborhood.  Please avoid parking half on/half off the kerb as it damages the pavement and makes walking along with buggies/children on scooters/bikes more hazardous – thank you.

Parents Evenings
For Reception and Year 1, date for your diary – meetings will be on the evenings of the 19th and 20th October, between 15:45 and 19:30.  An email will be sent with further details of how to sign up for a slot this week.

News from Hedgehog Class

The children have had a fantastic start to the year in Hedgehog class! They are beginning to build friendships and we are focusing on our sharing skills. We are playing lots of group games and ring games to help the children learn each other’s names.

The children are settling into our daily routines and have begun to take part in small group learning activities. This term our topic is All About Me, over the first few weeks we have been painting self portraits, discussing feelings and the things that make us happy or sad, we have also been talking about home life and drawing our families. The children have really enjoyed our first PE sessions, have enjoyed getting changed into their PE kits and have been participating well.

This week we have sent home a sheet of Magnificent Moments. We know that your child continues to learn at home as well as at school so we would like you to share that learning with us and contribute to their learning journeys by recording Magnificent Moments. This will help us to build a picture of your child; there are many things they may do at home but not at school so your contribution is essential. If you would like to bring in photos please do. The Magnificent Moments will go on our shared Foundation Stage Magnificent Moments board.

News from Owls and Squirrels Classes

Wow! What an exciting first few weeks we have had in Owls and Squirrels. We are so impressed with how well all the children have settled into their new school routines and how excited and enthusiastic they all are to learn! They have enjoyed exploring the new environment and learning resources which will help them learn. Over the first few weeks we have been learning all about ourselves and our families as well as making new friends. We would like to say a huge thank you to all of the families for their hard work filling the All About Me bags last weekend, ready for the children to share. This was such a lovely activity and allowed the children to talk about things and people that are important to them. We have also been talking about our feelings and sharing our likes and dislikes. We will now move on to learn about Autumn and Harvest before the half term break.

Learning Tiles
A few parents have asked about our smiley faces that we use in class. Each child has their own Learning Tile in the classroom where they collect smiley faces each day. Smiley faces are awarded for making good choices, achieving something new or showing one of the school values. If the children get 3 smiley faces for the day they are presented with a special sticker and if they get 4, they receive a special badge from Mrs Leo. As part of this system, we do sometimes have sad faces which are given if children need to think about making better choices. In putting a sad face on the tile the children have the opportunity, with adult help, to think about the choice they made, to think about how to make things better and what to do next time they are in the same situation.  Once they show they have made a good choice again the sad face is taken off - think of it like a visual ‘pause and think’ sign - this process can happen very quickly, in a matter of minutes sometimes or may take a little longer.  All tiles are counted at the end of the day and each day is a fresh start.  

Magnificent Moments
You may have seen our display in the learning burrow outside the classroom where we would like you to share your child’s achievements from outside school. Today we have sent home a sheet of Magnificent Moment templates for you to write a note telling us about your child’s learning outside of school. Have they learnt to do something new? Have they got an award? Have they been somewhere exciting? Have they shown one of our values outside of school? As well as the notes you can also bring in photos and certificates and awards. We will keep updating the board so keep sending things in!

Independence Week
We are now beginning to help the children develop their independence skills. We will be holding an independence week starting 12th October. During this week we would like the children to begin saying goodbye at the door and then come into class on their own in the mornings.  We will also be working on putting on our coats and doing them up by ourselves and cutting our own food at lunchtime. We feel it is really important that the children build their independent skills early on, so that they then become independent learners. You can support your child at home by encouraging them to get dressed by themselves, carry their own bags to school , set the table for dinner and fasten their own coats.

News from Foxes and Badgers classes

With our whole school pirate party the children had an exciting and stimulating beginning to Year One. This was quickly followed by the official opening where the children wrote their own prayer to say thank you for our new school and its community.
Our topic, A whole new world, was chosen to reflect the changes for everyone at Tadpole Farm School, as we moved into new classes, with new faces and a (huge!) brand new school building. The children (and staff) have gradually found their way around the new school and all its lovely features and we have even ventured to explore its close environment as we went for a walk down to the lake.
As part of our topic we have been reading familiar tales that involve different buildings and settings and the children have been learning about construction sites and keeping themselves safe. We have introduced the learning passports and challenges as the children move around the classroom and undertake at least six challenges, covering all areas of learning. The children have increased their independence by choosing when they do the challenges and self- assessing as to the quality of their learning.
This week, our first group finished their Forest skills adventures with Rachel from the Woodland Trust (see news from Forest School below). They have collected natural objects, explored woodland, painted with blackberries and helped build a fire to warm hot chocolate. The children have been so excited when they leave the school  and eager to share their adventures when they return to class. Many thanks to the Woodland Trust for providing our children with this amazing opportunity to explore the natural environment.
We are now three weeks into our African drumming sessions with Toby and already the children have learnt to repeat a rhythm, and produce different sounds by using different body parts or areas of the drums. These sessions will improve their listening skills and confidence as they take the lead, share ideas and perform to each other.
We have had a busy few weeks and the children in Fox and Badger Class have adapted and settled incredibly well into the new school world. We are very proud of them and hope you are too!

News from Forest School
We have had our first three weeks of Forest School and what a wonderfully sunny September we have had on our Wild Wednesdays. The first two groups of eight children have been venturing up to Shepherds Copse on a Wednesday morning and afternoon to explore the natural environment and discover what’s happening in nature’s calendar.

So far we have foraged for berries in the field hedgerows, finding an abundance of blackberries, with which we have filled our tummies. We even had some left over to squish and squash to make natural paint, although most of it ended up on our hands rather than the paper! We have also been exploring our new woodland to look for different wildlife; discovering multiple minibeasts from spiders to worms, lots of leaves, the tallest trees and abandoned birds’ nests. I don’t think we expected to find the Gruffalo’s foot though… 
On top of all our exploring, we have even had time for building miniature dens, play woodland games and making hot chocolate on the fire, which always creates a few smiley faces.
We are looking forward to more adventures of Wild Wednesday and discovering what changes happen in our wonderful woodland in October.