New Parents Information

September 2020

Welcome New Parents!

On this page we have provided all the information you will need to help you and your child settle into the school routine here at Meopham Community Academy when they join us in September. There is information relating to all aspects of Reception including the transition into school life, the daily routine your child will experience, the learning that your child will be involved in and the aims of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Miss Bloor and Miss Conway, Reception teachers

Meet the Teacher

Home Visits

As part of the transition from pre-school settings into school, our Reception teachers visit every child’s home allocated to their class at the start of September (in the first week of the new school year). This ensures the school has all the information we need before your child starts school and gives you the opportunity to ask us any questions you might have. We collect personal, medical and social information at these visits so please have your child’s red medical book at hand for the visit. The visit will last around 30 minutes.

September 2020, we will be having meetings in school in place of home visits, due to the COVID-19 situation. Your class teacher will arrange this with you.

Transition into School

In order to ensure a smooth and successful transition from your child's pre-school setting to school, we are planning a series of transition days as well as a staggered start to school life. At present (June 2020), our transition dates remain as detailed on your admission letter and within the welcome booklet.

We strongly encourage all children to attend these sessions in order to make their start to school as easy and as happy as possible.

Following the home visits the children will start attending school for half days for two weeks. This tried-and-tested method at Meopham Community Academy is extremely successful as it ensures the children are given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with all the new people and procedures at school at a fair and steady pace.

Our transition dates have been shared with you and at present, remain in place. However, should these dates change (due to COVID-19) we will contact you to inform you of any changes.

tapestry

Tapestry at Meopham Community Academy

Using the email address that you provide to us, we then set you up with your own online 'Tapestry' account. Log-in details will be given when your child starts with us in September.

'Tapestry' is a secure online Learning Journal used to record photos, observations and comments about your child in-line with the EYFS curriculum. Over the year, this builds to a record of your child’s experiences and learning during their time in Reception at Meopham.

'Tapestry' allows us to send regular notifications to parents so that they can access the journal and comment on observations that are made by the Early Years team.

We also encourage parents to upload observations of their own which the children will share with their peers during the school day. Click below to learn more about 'Tapestry' on the Reception Year Group page:

Reception Year Page

Classrooms and Learning Environment

Each of the two Reception classes have their own classroom. In addition, the children from both classes have access to our shared area and outdoor learning area. There are many opportunities during the school day where children from both classes are able to mix in the shared and outdoor areas of Reception.

Daily Routine

Our weekly timetable is made up of a mixture of teacher-led sessions and independent sessions known by the children as 'Exploring and Learning'. During the teacher-led sessions, children will mostly be within their classroom with their class teacher and teaching assistant.

Exploring and Learning is the term given to the morning and afternoon sessions when children are given the opportunity to engage in a self-chosen pursuit. Through encouraging children to make their own choices they take ownership of their learning and find things out for themselves.

During Exploring and Learning sessions the role of the adults is to model activities based on the teacher-led sessions, while encouraging children to take risks and to put their skills into action. Children are not ‘forced’ to participate in adult-led activities at these times. However, all children are encouraged to try something new and to develop their learning on a daily basis.

The children are able to have Exploring and Learning in all areas in Reception – both classrooms, the shared area and outside. There will always be at least one adult within each area facilitating the learning and encouraging children to take the next steps in their learning.

Each term you can see our planned learning for the coming term by viewing our Learning Journey. These are published before the start of the term on the Reception Year Group page:

Reception Year Page

Phonics

At Meopham Community Academy we follow the scheme 'Read Write Inc.' to introduce the skill of reading to the children. Phonics lessons are occur daily in the morning session with classes split into four groups to ensure we always support each child’s ability in the smallest groups possible.

For all of the details on how we teach Phonics at Meopham, please visit our Phonics area here:

Phonics Area

 

We run reading and writing parent workshops throughout the school year to give more information about how we teach these subjects in Reception. Letters will be issued informing parents of upcoming workshops.

Please click below to find out more about the 'Read Write Inc.' programme:

Read Write Inc (RWI) - A parent's guide

Snacks and Lunchtime Arrangements

The children are provided with a fruit or vegetable snack every day which can be enjoyed on our snack table. We encourage children to have their snack during the morning Exploring and Learning session and any fruit snacks left over from the morning can be enjoyed during the afternoon session.

Children are also entitled to free milk until they reach the age of 5. We will automatically sign your child up to receive the free milk up until they are 5. Close to their 5th birthday you will be contacted, by post, by Cool Milk to see if you would like your child to continue to enjoy milk at school or not. If you would there is a small cost paid on a termly basis direct to Cool Milk.  Please inform your child’s class teacher if you do not wish for your child to be signed up for the free milk.

Cool Milk Website

Lunchtime for Reception children is 12pm each day and the children eat altogether in the school hall. Children in Reception and KS1 are entitled to a free school meal. Children collect their own lunch from the dining hatch and always have a choice of at least two meal options. Bread is available to accompany their meal each day as well as a choice of salad from the salad bar. You can view the current lunch menu on our Lunch Arrangements page here:

Lunch Arrangements

Once children have finished their meals they go to the playground or astro-turf until the end of lunch at 1.10pm.

Dough Disco

Every morning from 8.35-8.55am we invite the children to the Dough Disco! Dough Disco is a daily physical intervention that combines the use of pieces of playdough with a series of hand and finger exercises. These strengthen and develop children’s fine and gross motor dexterity, hand-eye co-ordination, balance and grip. Each session runs to the length of an up-beat pop song and is led by the class teacher who calls out instructions for the children to follow. Not only is it encouraging muscle development but it is a fun way to start the day!

If you would like to come to the Dough Disco, keep your eye out for an invitation as we deliver a parent workshop later on in the year!

Visit the Reception Year page for photos and a video of a Dough Disco:.

Reception Year Page

Parent Workshops

We believe the relationship between home and school is vital to your child’s development. Please keep an eye out for announcements on the school website for workshops on phonics, writing and maths as well as an invitation to the Dough Disco, our year group assembly and an open afternoon where your child will be the one sharing their achievements with you!

Aims of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

Before starting school, your child will have been part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and we aim to continue their progression through this profile during their first year at school. The EYFS has a set of goals (expectations) which we aim for the children to achieve by the end of Reception.

Continuation of the Early Years Foundation Stage

Things to do and to remember...

Things to remember:

  • All clothes – including shoes and wellies - must be named.
  • Your child should bring a named book bag and water bottle to school each day (we encourage them to carry these separately to avoid spillages!)
  • Your child will be allocated a school ‘house’ when the classes are organised. This will indicate the colour PE bag and PE shirt they should have (check out our 'Houses' webpage for more details on the school's House structure). The children will not be wearing PE shirts until the summer term but until then the PE bag should be used to store warm clothing for Outdoor Learning.

Practical things you can do at home:

Please help your child to learn to do the following things between now and September:

  • Wiping their own bottom
  • Putting their shoes on - the right feet!
  • Doing up zips on their coats
  • Learning to use a knife and fork to cut up simple, soft food
  • Recognising their name in writing
  • Holding a pen/pencil correctly
  • Taking off and putting on a sweatshirt
  • Holding and using scissors correctly and safely