The Village Academy

The Village Academy is a group of town, city and village schools that have joined together to provide the very best education for the children in our care and where we believe that education is very much a matter of the individual.

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Catkin Class (Reception)

A Message from the Class Teacher, Mrs Foord

Welcome to the Catkin's Class Page!


Catkins Newsletter Term 5 2019

Welcome back after a wonderful Easter! The children have come back so excited to tell us all about the exciting adventures they had in the holidays. 

Last term

Term 4 was a busy one in the run up to Easter.  We had a fantastic term exploring fairy tales and traditional stories – we even had a visit from Goldilocks the porridge burglar and we had to save Percy Pig from the Big Bad Wolf!  We learnt how traditional stories often start and end and created our own endings for well-known fairy tales.                                  


Term 5 brings us a very exciting new topic of ‘Down at the bottom of the garden’  We will be looking at plants and growth in our environment, what a plant needs to grow, different types of plants, fruits and vegetables and how the children themselves have grown over their first year in school.  This topic is perfect for the springtime and particularly at Milstead where we are lucky enough to have such wonderful countryside all around us.

In maths we will be further exploring number and addition and will be introducing the concept of subtraction too, including how to write subtraction sentences.  We will also focus on doubling numbers, we will begin to explore money and we will also begin to look at time too.

To find out more about our topic this term please view our topic web here.

Home learning

At Milstead we offer a home learning menu with activities and tasks linked to current topic and learning.  This is to enable children and families to choose which activities to undertake to ensure a valuable, fun and child centered approach to learning that is provided at home.

Please see the home learning menu for term 5 - Home learning


We’re also hoping the sunshine is here to stay now! Please ensure your child comes to school with suncream already applied and has a sun hat and suncream in school – both labelled.  We will support children with topping up their suncream throughout the day.

Woodland Wednesday

We cannot wait to start our woodland sessions this term!  However, we can only go if we have a minimum of 2 parent helpers.  If you are able to help on any Wednesday afternoons, please let us know – we really appreciate the support!


We love how involved you all are with our online learning journal - tapestry.  The children love sharing in school the things they have done at home.  It gives them a great opportunity to continue to develop confidence when speaking in a group and allows us to see how fantastic all the children are at applying their learnt skills at home.  Please continue to post observations of the lovely activities your children take part in outside of school.  Look out for 'I wonder' challenges we might leave on tapestry observations.  These are to support you in challenging your children's next steps in learning.


PE will continue to be on a Thursday afternoon with Mrs Brown.  The children absolutely love these sessions!  Now that the weather is improving we will begin to introduce Catkin’s to outdoor PE sessions too.  It would be fantastic if, over the next few weeks your child can begin to have an outdoor PE clothes added to their kit.  Ideally tracksuit bottoms and top (hoodie/sweater) and outdoor trainers.

Reading books. 

The children are working so hard developing their independence when changing their own books in preparation for becoming great big Acorns at the end of the year.  We hope you’ve found the addition of the comprehension questions useful when reading with your child.  Children collect 2 house points for each home read, so please let us know this has happened by signing the reading record book. 


At Milstead we use a phonics streaming system, where children work in much smaller groups with a variety of adults from Catkin’s and Acorns.  This system works very well and the children were confident to access their phonics learning in this way.  Not only is this fantastic for the children’s phonics development, it has also had a wonderful impact on children’s confidence to work with other adults.  We will be continuing to work in this way for phonics.  Most children are now consolidating their phase 3 and 4 phonics learning and beginning to explore phase 5a.  

Overview of phonics

Phonics is split into 6 phases.  In the reception year we focus on phase 2, 3 and 4 and we may begin phase 5a towards the end of the year.  Phase 5 is split into four sub sections which are usually taught in year 1 and phase 6 is usually taught in year 2.

Sounds in phase 2

s, a, t,p ,i ,n ,m, d, g, o, c, k, ck, e, u, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss

Tricky words in phase 2

I, no, go, into, the, to

Sounds in phase 3

j, v, w, x, y, z, zz, qu, sh, ch, th, ng, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er

Tricky words in phase 3

he, she, me, we, be, you, all, are, her, was, they, my

Phase 4 There are no new sounds taught in phase 4.  Phase 4 focuses on learning to read and write polysyllabic words and to read and write consonant blends and clusters.

Tricky words in phase 4

said, have, like, so, do, some, come, there, little, one, were, out, what, when.

Phase 5

Phase 5 is split into four subsections.  Some children will begin to explore phase 5a towards the end of the year.  There are no new sounds taught in phase 5, however phase 5 teaches alternative graphemes (spellings) for sounds learnt in phase 3 including split digraphs.

Phase 5a sounds/graphemes

ay, ou, ie, ea, oy, ir, ue, aw, wh, ph, ew, oe, au, ey, a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e.

Please continue to practise these sounds at home, using pure sounds, looking for them in books – how many can you find in a minute? Search for them in the environment, form them in the park or garden with sticks, put them into sentences, chalk them on the ground or use a wet paint brush on a dry day.  Practise reading the tricky words and writing the tricky words from phase 2 and 3 in fun and exciting ways.

 Other useful links for parents.


Pure sounds      Alphablocks      Mr Thorne


Numberblocks     BBC help your child with maths       

Other useful links

The school run - a useful website for parents

EYFSP - Our Early Years curriculum


Thank you for your continued support.


The Catkins Team


Mrs Foord – Class Teacher

Mrs DaCosta – Teaching Assistant 1:1

Mrs Wrigglesworth – Teaching Assistant across Catkins and Acorns.

What will we be learning this year?   CATKIN CLASS LEARNING TOPIC


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