Harston and Newton Community Primary School
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Hello Amber Families!

We are really enjoying getting to know your children. They are a fabulous bunch and have made an excellent start to school over the last few weeks.

Our first few weeks in Amber Class

Don't forget:


Wear PE kit to school on Tuesday's and Friday's but remember to send in school uniform to change into after. It is quite helpful to have the clothes in a rucksack or drawstring bag rather than book bags. 


Book bags are really useful for carrying phonics folders, books and drawings. (Papers are getting scrunched up in rucksacks)


PLEASE name everything!

Phonics in Amber Class

I had spent ages preparing video and audio to accompany the presentation on Phonics that I would normally give face to face at the beginning of the Reception year. Unfortunately the technology has beaten me and I have been unable to restore any of the audio that I created. As a consequence I am sharing a selection of useful documents that explain how phonics is taught which I hope you find useful.

These videos summarise what phonics is and are worth watching 

We use the Letters and Sounds scheme and have already made a start on teaching Phase 2 sounds. We are very impressed with the children's enthusiasm and readiness to learn them. We are also playing rhyming, listening, alliteration games from Phase 1 to consolidate those early sound discrimination skills.

You will have seen that the children have been adding the new sounds to their phonics folders every time we learn a new sound. Please can they bring these every day so that new ones can be added. The sheets are for reference so that you know what sounds we have been learning. We are not expecting the children to do them all as 'homework', certainly not as frequently as we are sending the sheets home however if they are keen to practise they are a starting point.

Do ask if you have any questions.

Do have a look at your child's online learning journal on Tapestry. If you are having trouble activating your account or would like to know how you can add photos and videos from home then please do ask and Mrs Pluck can help you.


Home Learning:


Please see the following list for ideas to do with your child if you are isolating. Obviously if you are pooly then we hope you are feeling better soon. If you are not poorly then I have compiled a list of suggested activities that you could do with your child at home to help support their learning and development. 


If the class bubble is closed and all of Amber Class are at home then we will be able to share activities and learning on Tapestry through the 'Memos' section at the top of the page.


We would love to see what you get up to. Please share your photos and videos as observations on Tapestry. (Do ask if you are unsure of how to do this)


Activities to support your child's learning at home:


Read and tell stories: lay on the sofa, in a den, curled up on a beanbag! Get someone to take photos of your 'extreme reading'.... on the trampoline, upside down, in your play tunnel…  Develop story telling, language, listening skills, understanding, imagination, predicting what might happen, look for sounds you know


Do a jigsaw puzzle to practise problem solving skills


Play a board game to encourage turn taking, counting, number recognition 


Build a den to develop teamwork skills, measuring, spatial awareness


Make some playdough:


2 cups plain flour (all purpose)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (baby oil and coconut oil work too)

1/2 cup salt.

2 tablespoons cream of tartar.

1 to 1.5 cups boiling water (adding in increments until it feels just right)

gel food colouring (optional)



Cornflour and hair conditioner (Smells amazing!)


Use your playdough to practise fine motor skills: rolling, flattening, cutting with a knife and fork (great for table manners!) Make snakes by rolling and then use them to make letter shapes. Do the same with numerals. Can you roll that many ‘cakes’?


Do some baking: practise pouring, filling, measuring, counting, make observations, follow instructions


Draw pictures Practise fine motor control, use imagination


Do a painting Practise fine motor control, use imagination, colour recognition


Make a collage: use different things that you can find in the house or garden, e.g. rice, pasta, grass, leaves, develop creativity


Build a junk model Use toilet tubes, boxes, yoghurt pots etc. Plan what you might make. Use imagination, measuring, cutting fastening


Practise writing your name using the correct letter formation (Name cards coming home soon) What about your surname?


Build an amazing model using Lego or any other construction kit Great for imagination, balancing, fine motor skills, problem solving




Have a look at the letter sounds we have learnt so far (in your phonics folder) and practise writing them in a tray of flour/glitter/sand/paint...


Collect objects beginning with the different sounds we have learnt so far


Play a listening game (we play this in school) Sound out parts of different instructions for your child to do:

j-u-m-p into this hoop

s-i-ng me a s-o-ng

Can you pass me the b-o-x

This will help blending and segmenting in reading and writing


Practise counting at every opportunity. Count grapes, smarties, Lego bricks in your tower…


Give instructions to collect numbers of objects:

Can you get 4 knives, 4 forks and 4 spoons? Have we got enough for everyone in the family?

Count pairs of shoes. How many shoes, how many pairs? Count them in 2’s


Use a ten frame to count objects:

How many? How many empty spaces? Can you place 4 objects on the ten frame? Try placing them in different squares.

Other useful information
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