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Malmesbury Primary School

Brings out the best in everyone

What are we learning at school?


Learning through play

In Reception your child will learn through structured play. Your child’s activities are carefully planned and children are engaged in a variety of activities every day. These can be both adult supported or independent. By the end of Reception, we aim for your child to be: reading, writing short sentences and working securely with numbers 1 to 20. We base our learning around quality storybooks which are selected to respond to the children's interests. Your child will also take part in daily phonics and maths sessions.


Messy Play

In our Early Years setting we have messy play resources out each day. We have a mud kitchen where children can use soil to engage in imaginative play and make mud cakes! On a daily basis we may have other messy play resources for children to play with. These can include spaghetti, play-dough, gloop, slime and jelly. Children love to explore and discuss the texture of these things and all children in Reception are expected to engage with these activities. This may mean that your child sometimes comes home with messy clothes. We do provide aprons and encourage and remind all children to wear them while they access the messy play, but sometimes children can forget, so please be patient with your child. All of the resources that we use can be easily washed out.



At Malmesbury we follow the ‘Read, Write, Inc’ phonics system. Through phonics your child will learn to read and write. Each letter has a sound which your child will learn, and different combinations of letters make different sounds. Throughout the year your child will learn to blend these sounds together to read unfamiliar words, and learn to break words up into their individual sounds so they can write the words. This can be quite different to how many adults learned to read and write when at school and it can take some time to become familiar with. Staff are here to support parents/carers in helping their children with their reading and writing so if you are unsure of the sounds of any of the letters please ask any member of staff.

In English, there are many common words which cannot be sounded out. These are called ‘tricky’ words and have to be learnt by sight.



With the help of phonics your child will learn to form letters correctly, put these letters together to form words, and eventually move on to writing sentences. This is a slow but steady process and some children can get frustrated with writing. In order to support your child’s writing, please always encourage and praise them for ‘having a go’. If what they have written doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t matter! The most important part is that they tried. At Malmesbury we want to create a school full of confident and happy writers who are willing to have a go. Please encourage and support this at home.



At the beginning of the year we will concentrate on counting. In order to prepare your child, please count everything! For your child to be as confident as possible with maths, they need to be able to count. While some children may be able to say numbers up to 100, this is very different from actually counting objects. When you are out and about, count everything you see with your child and talk about numbers in the environment. How many red cars can you see? How many buses? What are the numbers on the buses? Can you find any numbers in the supermarket?

Throughout the year we will also look at different mathematical concepts such as 2D and 3D shapes, measuring weight and distance, talking about size, learning about time, money, patterns and problem solving. Your child’s teacher will tell you when we are learning about certain topics so you can support your child at home.


Other areas of learning

Throughout the year we will focus on various areas of learning such as ‘The World’, technology, looking at different people and communities around the world and how our community or religion might be different to others. We will do activities that support children’s physical development, work on communication skills such as speaking, listening and understanding. We will also have learning sessions aimed at developing children’s self-confidence, friendships and behaviour.


WOW moments

Parents' and carers' contribution to their child's assessment in Reception is highly valued. At home children may surprise you with the things they have learnt, or new things they can do. We regularly send home 'WOW moments' so that parents/carers can record a time when their child impressed them. These can then be given to their child's teacher so that they can be included in their child's learning journey.


Parent/Carer Reading morning

Each week you will be invited to come into your child’s class to spend some time reading with your child. We will have lots of books available and this is an exciting opportunity for you to spend some time reading with your child in school. Reading mornings have always been very successful, and children love having their parents read to them. Reading mornings will begin, usually on Fridays, once your child is settled in Reception and your child’s teacher will let you know when this is.



Your child will choose a school library book to take home each week. This is an opportunity for you to read to your child and develop their understanding of stories, and to foster their love of reading. You will also be given a home school diary to record the reading that you do at home. 10 minutes of reading each night will make a huge difference to your child’s reading development and will also have a positive impact on their learning across the curriculum. Once your child is settled their teacher will inform you of what day their book will be changed each week. If you would like to change books more often than this, our school library is open after school from Monday to Thursday and a member of staff is available so that your child can return their book and choose a new one. Once children begin phonics lessons, they will be given a phonics book which they can practise reading at home. Later in the year the children will be given a log-in for Bug Club, which is an online reading scheme. Children can access e-books and answer comprehension questions. By providing a range of reading experiences, we are ensuring that children have access to books in a way which best suits their learning needs.