Cross Gates

Primary School

Aspire, Learn, Succeed

Cross Gates

Primary School

Aspire, Learn, Succeed


Welcome to Reception 2023-24!

Our Reception Classroom 2023-24

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Helpful Information and Reminders

Please ensure your child brings a named bookbag to school with them every day.


Library books are changed every Monday - please return it on this day if you would like it changing. Phonics books are changed on Thursdays and sent home on Fridays.


Children self-select their dinner each day - it is really helpful to have a conversation with your child each night/morning to discuss the dinner options for each day and try to steer them towards something they will like. The current menu which is on a three-weekly rotation basis, can be found in the Parents section of the website under Lunch Menu Information.
Thank you for your support with this.

Our Favourite Five

Each half term we will be introducing children to our 'Favourite Five' stories. We will read these five stories lots of times throughout the half term (alongside lots of others as well) so that the children become really familiar with the language and pattern of the story. By reading these 5 stories regularly, children are exposed to lots of new vocabulary. Our 'Grandma Fantastic' (puppet) collects all of the new vocabulary that we have learnt from each story. We revisit this new vocabulary frequently to support children to absorb the language and explore it in a wider context.



The children have now started their daily Phonics lessons and have really impressed us with how quickly they are learning the phonemes and their matching graphemes. Click on the stars below to find out which sounds your child has learnt each week and for ideas of activities that you can do at home to help consolidate their learning! It would be great to see any observations you make of the children on Tapestry - the children really enjoy sharing their learning from home with their classmates.


Here are a couple of useful definitions for you to support your understanding of the vocabulary used in phonics teaching:

Phoneme - the sound a letter makes

Grapheme - what the letter looks like written down


We have attached the formation rhymes below to support the correct formation of each grapheme. Please keep checking back here as we will continue to add helpful documents to support your child with their phonics throughout the year. 

Little Wandle Parent Resources

Tricky Words - ideas for games at home

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Please click on the stars below to find out what the children have been doing each week and for ideas of activities and games you can practise together at home to consolidate the learning.

Following on from conversations with families at Parents Evening this week, we have uploaded some number formation rhymes that may help at home. We have also uploaded a document that can be printed off if you would prefer.

Number Formation

Sports and Wellbeing Week

Science Week - Time

As part of our learning about Science Week, we have been exploring the theme of ‘Time’. 
The children all took part in a 200m race to work out the class average time. Our time will be plotted on a line graph with the other class averages from across the whole school so we can look for patterns in the data. 
We have also been reading the book ‘Follow the Swallow’ by Julia Donaldson. Through this book we have been exploring how time affects the world around us and the seasons through the year. This book helped the children explore the theme of migrating birds which linked do well to the highlight of our week which was the Swift Parade on Friday. 

Swift Parade!

The classroom has been a hive of activity this week as children have been busying away with the junk model materials. This has been a real interest of the children for a number of weeks now and they were very excited to have some new materials to experiment and create with! We have been exploring different ways to join materials together and finding the most suitable techniques. The children have shown high levels of engagement and have been completely engrossed in their model making - they have made some amazing creations!




Nature Play Group

The children had fun with their Y5 Nature Play buddies this afternoon. They explored the Japanese craft of Hapa Zome together and enjoyed some ice lollies in the sunshine! β˜€οΈ

Keeping the beat going in music 🎡

Eid Mubarak to our families celebrating at the end of Ramadan. We hope you have a wonderful time!

Thank you Mohammed! ❀️

Our class would like to say a huge thank you to Mohammed and his family for the lovely Eid gifts they brought in for all the children in the class. What a kind and thoughtful gesture! 😊

Happy Easter! 🐣

We had a lovely time this week finding out about the festival of Easter, the story behind it and how people like to celebrate. Thank you to all the parents who joined us for our Easter Stay and Play on Wednesday afternoon, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! 

Nature Play Group

Our Nature Play session with Year 5 was a great success this afternoon. We followed on from the children’s interest in collecting sticks in our last session by choosing a favourite stick and decorating it. The children worked hard to wind the wool round the stick to decorate it and the Year 5 children were so lovely and kind, helping the Reception children to be successful. We were very proud of everyone in the group!

Making the most of the wet weather!

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Spotting signs of Spring!

We went for a walk around the school grounds to see if we could spot any changes in the natural environment. The children used careful observation skills to spot the first signs of Spring. Jessica spotted a nest in a tree and Jacob recognised a Magpie from our Wanderlust Bird Study. The children also spotted lots of Wood Pigeons pecking in the grass. “They are pecking for worms to eat” Vinni explained. We talked about the buds beginning to grown on the branches of some trees and how the green buds will become leaves. Areyah spotted some buds that were a different colour and we discovered that they will become blossom. The children will keep checking on the buds over the next couple of weeks to see how they change. We spotted some Crocus flowers growing on the grass but the children were sad to see some had been trampled. Back in class they made signs to display on the grass to warn people that the Crocus are there and to take care of them. 

Lunar New Year

We have had such a fantastic week learning all about the Lunar New Year - we have enjoyed exploring various enhancements in provision, including Chinese calligraphy and traditional clothing. The children have been so creative and made a 'human dragon' that we enjoyed parading around the classroom! We have learnt the story, 'The Great Race', which is a traditional folk tale about the Chinese zodiac and why each new year is named after a different animal. We have used 'Talk for Writing' to learn the story off by heart - children follow a text map and learn actions to help them to recite the words. The text map is attached below - see if your child can have a go at telling you the story!


Thank you to everybody that was able to come and share in our learning at our stay and play. 

The Great Race Text Map

National Storytelling Week!

Thank you to everyone that was able to join us to celebrate National Storytelling Week - it was lovely to see so many parents and carers sharing stories with the children throughout the week. As always, we appreciate your support and involvement so much!

We loved creating a giant game of snakes and ladders as part of our 'Number Day' celebrations for the NSPCC - thank you for all of your donations! We practised lots of important maths skills during this activity - number recognition, ordering numbers, subitising and 'counting on'. Board games are a great, fun way to develop number sense with your children. 

Nature Play Group

Missing Chickens!

Our chickens are missing! The children have been discussing what might have happened to them. “I think they’ve dug a hole and escaped!” “I think they’ve gone to the beach.” “Maybe a fox has stolen them…” We have been busy writing ‘missing’ and ‘wanted’ posters and drawing plans to catch the fox. The children have created some excellent, detailed drawings and been using their phonic knowledge to write labels and captions to explain their plans.

Happy New Year!

Welcome back! We hope you had a wonderful Christmas break with your families and wish you many happy times for the year ahead in 2024!

Ball Splash Game!

The children had a wonderful time in the outdoor area this morning. They created their own game throwing balls at the target which was a pool of water that had collected on top of the sand tray cover. They demonstrated lots of skills such as turn-taking, throwing, perseverance and resilience throughout the game as they took aim at the water!

Feeling festive! πŸŽ„

Exploring the frost and ice ❄️

Fire Engine Visit πŸš’

The children loved the visit from the Firefighters from Killingbeck Fire Station today. They had such a good time sitting in the cab, exploring the truck (and all its hidden compartments!), learning about the equipment they use and understanding how firefighters help us in many different ways. It was lovely to see & hear many of the children talking to the fire crew about why they felt they would be good at this job when they were grown up. Fantastic aspirations!

Creating Mud Mehndi Patterns

Cooking & Tasting Indian Party Food - Samosas, Bhajis, Pakoras, Poppadoms and Barfi Sweets

Odd Socks Day! 🧦

As part of our work for Anti-bullying Week, the children have been wearing odd socks today to celebrate their unique styles and what makes them special!

Creating Poppies for Remembrance Day 🌺

We had a lot of fun splashing in puddles this week. We developed this play a little further by building a platform to jump from into the deepest puddle we could find. The children loved this activity so much and enjoyed the challenge of taking a risk and building the platform a little higher. This play developed over a couple of days and many more children joined in. They were so good at managing their own risk and asking for help to jump if needed or taking blocks away to make the platform lower if they felt a bit too nervous about the jump. As the play developed, their confidence grew and many more children jumped from the higher platform. 

Thank you to everyone that joined us for Stay & Play on Wednesday, it was a great afternoon. The children love playing with you in class and take so much pride in sharing their learning with you. We hope everyone has a happy half term!

Pumpkin Shop

The children have enjoyed role playing in their 'Pumpkin Shop' this week and have been using their counting skills to count out amounts of pennies or pebbles to match the amount on the pumpkin price label.

Robots Project

As part of our ongoing project work around Robots, the children met a robot called Robbie. They had a great time learning how to make him move, smile, talk and even dance! 

Pumpkins! πŸŽƒπŸŽƒπŸŽƒ

Thank you so much to everyone that has brought a pumpkin in over the last couple of weeks. The pumpkins have prompted so much talk and discussion amongst the children. this week they have all been comparing the pumpkins and sorting them into groups, talking about which is their favourite pumpkin and why and also role playing shops with them. The children used conkers to ‘pay’ for the pumpkins this week. The children have been enjoying using their counting wands to wander round our ‘pumpkin patch’ and count how many pumpkins there are altogether. 
Our 'Pumpkin Shop' will be open in the outdoor area next week and the children will be making price tags and taking on the role of shopkeepers and customers. We even have a collection of 'real money' (1p's) for next week to enable the children to develop their counting skills and count out the right amount of pennies to match the price of the pumpkin. There has already been much discussion about the fact that they feel the big pumpkins and the unusual pumpkins should cost the most money.

Creating Collective Artwork Inspired By Our Focus Artist - Kandinsky

The children have been creating some collective artwork inspired by our focus artist - Wassily Kandinsky. We have been talking about some of his pieces and the colours and shapes he used. The children initially experimented with printing geometric shapes onto paper inspired by the pieces: Composition, Dreaming and Yellow-Red-Blue.

They showed particular interest in his artwork with circles so we looked closely at the pieces: Squares with Concentric Circles, Several Circles and Circles in a Circle. The children then explored using oil pastels to create their own 'squares with concentric circles'. They demonstrated some excellent creative thinking skills as they selected coloured paper circles  according to size and colour, then considered carefully where to position them before sticking them onto their black paper.

Outside, the children had a wonderful time experimenting with 'bubble painting' - blowing bubbles into the paint with a straw then printing the bubbles onto paper was something they were all very captivated by and created many, many giggles of excitement and enjoyment!

This week we have been ‘talking PANTS!’ Talk PANTS is an NSPCC resource aimed at helping children to understand that their body belongs to them, some parts of our body are private and that they should tell a safe adult if anything makes them feel worried or upset. We have included some useful links below to support parents with these conversations at home. In class we have been singing the Pantosaurus song and learning the PANTS Rules:

* Pants are private

* Always remember your body belongs to you 

* No means no

* Talk about secrets that worry or upset you

* Speak up, someone can help


Making Harvest Vegetable Soup - putting our poem into action!

National Poetry Day

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The children have been learning a poem about chopping vegetables and they performed it for National Poetry Day. Our video performance will also be included in the Harvest Festival Assembly.

We have been enhancing and tailoring our outdoor provision according to the children's interests and needs this week and have created a new 'Clay Station' which has been very popular. The children have displayed high levels of involvement in this area and we have been modelling lots of vocabulary to extend their thinking and describe their actions.

Exploring Our New Clay Station!

Robots Project

The children have been showing an interest in robots through their play so we spent some time this week drawing, designing and creating their own robots using magnets, tins and loose parts. There was lots of great discussion about their ideas and plans (including a lot of inspiration from Spidey and his Amazing Friends!) and they were also very able to adapt their designs according to the resources available.

Our Eco Warriors

Our class Eco Warriors, Vinni and Miles attended their first meeting on Friday and came back with lots of ideas to share with the class about how to ensure we are all doing our best to protect the world we live in. The boys have now taken responsibility for ensuring the correct materials are placed in the recycling bin and that things like the lights and smartboard are turned off when we leave the room. They were so proud of themselves when they were awarded their new roles and we know they will do a brilliant job!

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are the ability to make movements using the small muscles in our hands and wrists. 


Children's fine motor skills can directly impact on their ability to write and form letters (graphemes) correctly. They need lots of opportunities to develop and strengthen these small muscles in their hands and wrists. In Reception, children will engage in lots of different activities throughout this year designed to support and develop their fine motor skills. We will put examples of these activities below - it would be great if you could keep practising some of these at home too!

This week, children have been wrapping elastic bands around pine cones. The elastic bands were quite fiddly to twist and stretch over the pine cone but lots of children persevered for long periods of time with this activity. 

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us for our first reading cafe of the year! Reading cafe is every Wednesday from 2.45pm until 3.15pm. 

The children have loved preparing, making and eating fruit kebabs! Strawberries were definitely a firm favourite with all of the children!

First days at school πŸ₯°