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Welcome to Chestnut!
2023 - 2024
Mrs Lewin/Mrs Robilliard - Class Teachers

Mrs Sullivan/Mrs Hooper/Mrs Amvrosiadis - Teaching Assistants

Summer 2
Mad About Minibeasts
Summer 1
The Sights and Sounds of Africa
The children in Reception have been eager to enjoy the great weather we have been blessed with. So, we have taken learning outside a lot recently. Children have engaged in science investigation work with shadows which led to many interesting and excited conversations about light and shapes. In Maths we have been consolidating learning on subtraction and went on a number sentence hunt. As you can see the children were very engaged and very successful!
We have been revisiting our maths learning this week, and it's all been centered around halving. It's a hard concept to understand without lots of practise and practice is exactly what we have been doing. We have been sharing equally between two groups to ensure we have equal amounts.
Our Learning inside the classroom was brilliant but we thought we would go outside to challenge overselves even more. We found numbers hidden all around and with talk partners and counters, we discussed whether the number could be shared equally between 2 and if it couldn't what that meant.

This week Chestnut and Acorn classes have come back to school and set off on a trip of a lifetime! This trip was taken with their imagination on a plane. The children secured their imaginary seatbelts and flew across the world to the continent of Africa!  On the way they stopped at different amazing landmarks to see the wonders of the Savanna, Cape Town and even go on safari to see the big 5. Once back inside the classroom we looked at the large world map, exploring how big Africa is and how the landscape changes. It has been so exciting to see the learning and adventures that lie ahead of us this half term we really cannot wait to find out more.

Over the Spring term the reception outside area was spruced up with new resources and areas for the children to investigate, play and learn in. It has proved to be a great investment as the children are interacting even more enthusiastically. We are observing some really powerful interactions and learning links.
Look at the wonderful experiences they now have, building, imagination, exploration and performing! The opportunities are endless.
On Tuesday 9th April, the children in Reception were very excited to discover there had been a special delivery of eggs.  They soon found out what type of eggs they were, when to their delight, two of the eggs hatched and out popped two noisy and inquisitive chicks!  The following day three more eggs hatched.  The children have had the most enjoyable time watching the chicks grow and learning how to care for them.  They especially enjoyed having a few cuddles before the chicks were returned to their home.
Spring 2
Dinosaur Stomp
On Wednesday 6th March the children in Reception were tasked with the job of creating a Dinoscape for their dinosaurs. This included exploring the different habitats dinosaurs lived in and then deciding the best methods they knew to join materials together.  After an exciting discussion, we decided to get to work building our Dinoscape! It included attaching junk modelling to our cardboard base with masking tape, building up the structures with rolled up newspaper and to finish ... making our own papier mache with flour and water to make the Dinoscape sturdy.
As you can see in the photos this was lots of messy fun. We cannot wait to keep adding to our structure and then paint it next week!
This week in Chestnut's Forest School session we heard all about the awful time the Little People were having. The Little People live in our Woodland area and were in need of same special protection. Chestnut Class jumped into action to create a whole class set of friendly Boggarts. These were moulded from clay and decorated with all the treasures they could find in the outside area.
The children were so impressed they decided to take them home to spread protection within the community.
This week we reiterated the safety rules of the Forest area, listened to stories and created woodland art using our Dough Disco skills. Just look at the incredible results! Well done Chestnut Class!
What a busy week we've had learning about the Chinese New Year.  We read the story of 'The Great Race' in which the Jade Emperor named a year in the zodiac after each animal that took part in the race. This year is the year of the dragon.  We have been making lots of representations of dragons in our different areas of learning.  We have also enjoyed listening to other stories, finding out facts, getting ready for Chinese New Year in the role play area, re-enacting the story of The Great Race, writing Chinese words and numbers, using chopsticks, watching lion and dragon dances and trying some Chinese food.  That was the best activity!  We used our senses to come up with lots of fantastic adjectives to describe the prawn crackers, noodles and spring rolls we tried, using words like "sticky", "spicy", "crunchy", "wiggly", "interesting" and "yummy".  Some of us liked the food and some of us didn't, but the prawn crackers were our favourite!
Spring 1
Winter Wonderland
We loved exploring water and ice as part of our Winter Wonderland theme and especially enjoyed using what we learned to make ice lollies. We knew the water wouldn't freeze straight away, but it was worth the wait as the lollies were delicious!
We welcomed the children back to school after the Christmas break to find them all very excited over the words that related to the ice such as: 








We discussed what we thought each one meant and then investigated some ice blocks. Observing and touching to see if we were correct in our thoughts. Over the course of the afternoon we continued to observe the ice to see what happened. 

We are quite certain that this half term we are going to learn a lot and experiment.

Autumn 2
Why Do Squirrels Hide Their Nuts?
This week we were so fortunate to go on our very first school trip. What a trip it was! Conkers Winter Wonderland. We started off travelling on a double decker bus and then we were greeted by the most adorable elves. Once there, we were taken to watch an interactive 4D film where it snowed on us! We took the Santa Express over to the Elf Village and decorated Christmas decorations and got given sweets or gingerbread men biscuits. After lunch, we followed the elves through the enchanted forest, where we saw singing reindeers, a tunnel of lights and even got to sit in Santa's sleigh. If all of that wasn't enough fun, we were led to a wooden cabin, decorated with Christmas wreaths and met SANTA! He was in his log cabin and spoke to us all about the joy of Christmas and trying our very hardest to be good little girls and boys. Santa was so impressed he gave each one of our children a gift to put under the tree for Christmas morning. Have a look at the photo's to see our magical day, the best day yet, a day Reception will never forget.
On Thursday 7th December, we welcomed Reverend Liz Bickley into Acorn and Chestnut Class to retell the story of the Nativity.  We thoroughly enjoyed listening to the story and seeing the props Reverend Liz had brought in, and she was delighted to hear some of the songs we sang in our Nativity.

Chestnut class were really excited to go to their forest school session this week.  The children were introduced to the areas within our woodland such as the castle, mud kitchen, bug hotel and fairy land. They then practised safe movement around the Forest School site learning about the need for walking, looking and listening. After that they completed a special job for the 'Little People' who reside in the woodlands.

The activity required them to look for natural patterns within the area on trees, leaves and objects. They then collected a range of natural materials to create their own patterns for crowns. Children were using their pattern finding skills to notice the sequences of repetition and accurately used prediction to say what may come next in the pattern. They were challenged to correct any mistakes in their patterns by discussing the repetition with their class mates. Just look at the wonderful time they had and the hard work they produced.

As part of maths week, Chestnut Class learned about the mathematician and scientist Sir Isaac Newton.  They had great fun investigating gravity, before applying what they had learned to help them understand what happens when we use weighing scales to find out which objects are heavier or lighter than others.
The children worked with a partner to select classroom objects to weigh.  They used their star maths words to say whether their object was heavier or lighter than their partners.
Rupert said, 'My object is heavier than Elsie's because the scales gone down.'
Later in the week, the children went on to predict which of three identical sized pots, filled with different materials/objects, would be heavier than the others.
Ava-Mai said, 'I think the sand pot is heavier.  It made my hand want to drop because gravity is pulling it down.'
Elsie then said, 'The other pots will stay up because they are lighter.'
Oliver concluded that, 'The sand weighs more because it is heavier.'
The children tested out the pots and were delighted that their predictions were correct.
Autumn 1
We All Belong Here
On Wednesday 10th October Reception classes had a surprise visit from Polesworth Fire Service. Firefighter Mark, John and even Firefighter Sam. They drove down in their truck and explained all of their emergency equipment and how they use it to save lives and help people in need. It was so exciting and informative; we got to ask questions and even had a go on the special firehose! 
This week we began our new Key Text Goldilocks and the Three Bears. To showcase this, children were introduced to Now Press Play, an interactive storytelling device with headphones. They had to listen and respond to the instructions and as you can see, they all fully enjoyed this immersive experience! Can you see in the photos when we had to become scary bears or eat up all the porridge as Goldilocks did!
On Thursday 28th September we had a visit from Road Safety Officer Alice and her friend Warwick the Bear.  Through story, song and interactive activities we were taught key road safety messages. We were introduced to the safe behaviours of holding hands with a trusted adult, stopping before the kerb and looking and listening for traffic.  
This week we experienced the interactive resource Now Press Play within the classroom. All children were given headphones and listened to a set of instructions and a story. They then used their imaginations to act out the movements. This was a brilliant and interesting imagination provoking experience. It helped them to secure understanding of the story of the Three Little Pigs and recap the value of 3 from our maths learning.
We have begun our maths learning in such a fun and informative way. Each day we get involved in a maths session learning to subitise, count, chant, recognise numerals and extend our mathematical vocabulary. This half term we are looking at Early maths experiences and numbers to 6. Look at some of the wonderful mathematical learning we have participated in, inside and outside the classroom environment and outside.

Starting school can be really exciting but also quite nerve-racking for not just the children but for their grown-ups at home. We hope you enjoy looking at some photos of the children’s first few days and weeks at Birchwood. They have been learning new routines and school rules, meeting important people in school, making friends and getting to know our school. The children have been exploring all the areas of learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage and teachers have been getting to know their unique characteristics of learning. What a lot of fun we have all had trying new things and making new memories that we hope will last a lifetime.