Nursery News 26th February 2024


26th February 2024 – Edition 325

Find out About

A. An Evening Event, For Big Nursery Children: Bedtime Stories Thursday 29th February 2024 at 5pm –A reminder

B.Catkins Class Offers for 3+ Nursery in September 2024 for children with dates of birth from 01/04/21 to 31/08/21

C An Open School Event: For Big Nursery Orange Group Parents: Basic Skills.

D. Lost Property.

E What are the children are learning about this week?

F. Phonics program starts this week!


A: An Evening Event, For Big Nursery Children: Bedtime Stories Thursday 29th February 2024 at 5pm –A reminder

All Big Nursery children are invited to bring a parent along for a bedtime story at Willow Nursery School. Children and parents will join your child’s keyworker for a bedtime story. Children can come in their pyjamas and bring a teddy bear or favourite cuddly toy with them. Older and younger brothers and sisters are welcome, but please remember the stories will be aimed at 3 and 4 year olds. Parents will be asked to monitor the behaviour of brothers and sisters, and will be expected to take noisy or wriggly children out of the story circle so as not to upset the quiet atmosphere created. We expect stories to last approximately 30 minutes (perhaps less for the youngest children) and we will then have warm ‘Hot Chocolate’ and cookies together.


 B. Catkins Class Offers for 3+ Nursery in September 2024

for children with dates of birth from 01/04/21 to 31/08/21

We would ask that all completed Option Choice forms are returned to us by Friday 1st March 2024, at the very latest.

We assume that all of these families would like a place in Big Nursery. Please let us know as soon as possible if you have other plans.


C. An Open School Event: For Big Nursery Orange Group Parents: Basic Skills.

Miss Skai teaches Big Nursery Orange Group children ‘Basic Skills’ on a Wednesday morning. The children move to a quiet space in Room 5 where they work in small groups (approx. 8 children) to learn reading, writing, mathematical skills and problem solving. We would like to invite Miss Skai’s Orange group parents in to observe a 30 minute reading/writing activity on Wednesday 13th March. A further invitation letter will follow to Orange Group parents so that we can match up time slots, so parents can join their child’s small group. Blue Group had their Basic Skills groups in the Autumn Term 2023, Yellow Group have Basic skills in the Summer Term 2024. Eventually all parents will be invited to observe Basic skills sessions when their child is being taught.


 D. Lost Property.

The staff work hard to ensure children take home all their personal belongings at the end of the day. However, as hard as we try, we always seem to accumulate items of lost property. We have some drawers in the outdoor Library area, at the front of the school where we place Lost Property. Please could we ask that you take a look there if you think your child may have lost something. We will dispose of any items remaining in the Lost Property drawers in two weeks time.


E. What are the children are learning about this week?

The theme in nursery this week is ‘People Who Help Us’

In Catkins, the children will focus on numbers and counting. They will explore making marks with chalks on numeral shaped blackboards. Staff will talk about numbers as the children play. The children will also have dressing up outfits with accessories such as radios, helmets and tabards to wear so that they can act out the roles of Police Officers and Fire Fighters.

In the Link, the children will have number cutters in the playdough and they will work on number recognition. Staff will reinforce number knowledge and promote number play for those that are unsure. They will also be encouraged to paint and explore numerals using handheld number stamps.

Outside, the children will explore Police and Fire role play. They will be encouraged to use their imagination to act out being police and fire officers. Children will have props such as radios and police cars to promote their play.

In Room 3, the children will have a role play area set up where they can explore the tasks of Police and Fire officers . They will have dressing up outfits available to them as well as a police/fire station where they can make phone calls and support people in need.

In Room 2, the staff will have lots of opportunities to explore paint as they use their hands to mix paint and make fire paintings. Staff will talk to the children about the colours as they mix them and what changes they may see. The children will also be asked if they would like to make police and fire badges to support their role play throughout the nursery.

In Room 1, the staff will set up a police van/fire truck for the children to explore. They will encourage the children to play nicely in the van and to take turns with seating arrangements and the steering wheel. In addition to this, there will be a police station set up, with a desk, telephone, keyboard and other supporting objects to expand the children’s play.


Outside, the children will focus on finding lots of objects that they can count. Staff will point out objects such as bikes, logs, hoops etc. Staff will also explain to the children that as well as counting objects, they can count actions such as claps or jumps. There will be some road safety signs for the children to use in their play as well as a pretend speed gun for the children to use, to make sure everyone rides their bikes at a safe speed.


 F. Phonics program starts this week!


Willow Nursery School Phonics Programme

‘Phonics’ is one tool children can use when they are beginning to learn to read and write. A definition of phonics follows on the next page.

The Department for Education (DfE) produced a phonics resource called Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics, which splits the teaching of phonics into six phases. At Willow, we work on phase 1 activities all the time. Phase 1 describes using activities such as storytelling and singing songs, rhymes, music, role play and listening games. This will give the children opportunites to listen carefully and talk extensively about what they hear, see and do.  Phase 1 activities are designed to underpin and run alongside activities in other phases.  Phase 2 is an introduction to more formal phonics work and involves teaching the children sets of letters in a specified order. The first set of letters to be learnt are s.a.t.i.p.n because these letters make a greater number of words than any other 6 letters in the alphabet. We feel that the children at Willow are ready to begin focussing on letter sounds in a fun and practical way.


What are we going to do?

  • Each child will participate in 1 x 25 minute phonic sessions each week
  • We are going to begin teaching 6 letter sounds, s.a.t.i.p.n. and will continue with one letter sound each week until the end of term
  • We will teach the children that all letters have a name, and that these letters make a sound. For example: the letter S makes the sound ‘sss’
  •  We will use a mixture of songs, games, tongue twisters, art, drama and movement activities to teach the letter sounds.


We will use ‘Jolly Phonics’ with the children. Jolly Phonics is the name of a program used to teach phonics. Each week we will:

  • Tell the children a story, which includes focussing on the sound we are trying to teach.
  • Teach an action to represent the sound
  • Send home a picture (linked to the story) for the children to colour, and they can practise writing the letter which represents the sound.

For example: The ‘s’ story involves finding a snake which goes ‘ssss’. The action for ‘s’ involves making a snaking movement with your hand and forearm and saying ’ssss’. The picture to take home is a picture of a snake


Helping at home:

The picture your child brings home will explain to you how to make the action to represent the sound. Talk with your child about what they have learned at school. Learn the actions along with your child. Making the movement may help your child to remember. Have fun!



What is phonics?

Phonics is the word used to describe the sounds the letters make. In simple terms, the word ‘cat’ can be read from its three sounds: c-a-t.

These are not the names of the letters as we say them in the alphabet, but the sounds these letters make. The word ‘thick’ is made up of three sounds: th-i-ck, where pairs of letters combine to make a single sound. Similarly, ‘rash’ is made up of three sounds: r-a-sh.

There are 40+ sounds in English but only 26 letters that are used to represent these sounds.


The five basic skills for reading and writing are:

  • Learning the letter sounds
  • Learning the letter formation
  • Blending
  • Identifying sounds in words
  • Spelling the tricky words


When reading, children need to understand the meaning of the words. Before they can do this, they have to be able to work out what the words say. The phonic skill for this is to look at the letters, say the sounds and hear the words. This is called blending.


The main phonetic skill for writing is to start with the spoken word, then listen, identify and write the sound in that word. The ability to hear the sounds in words is called phonological awareness. For example, with the word ’bin’ if you listen you hear the sounds ‘b……i….n’. Then if you know how to write those letter sounds, you can write the word ‘bin’ without help. This is the opposite to the skill needed for blending.


The letters for the 42 Sounds of English:

See below:

a ……ant, sand, caravan

ai……aim, aid, drain, (long a)

b……bat, bend, crab

c ……cat, cot, duck

d……dog, dip, sudden

e……egg, end, shed

ee……eel, creep, tree (long e)

f……fog, lift, fluff

g……goat, gap, digger

h……hop, hit, hill

i……ink, indian, drink

ie……pie, tie, die (long i)

j……jelly, jet, jumper

k……king, kind, kettle

l……leg, lost, shell

m……man, mill, shrimp

n……nut, nip, spin

o……orange, on, spot

oa……oak, oats, boat (long o)

p…….pig, pet, step

q……queen, quick, quin

r……run, rabbit, barrel

s…..sand, sun, twist

t……top, tug, mat

u…….up, under, lung

ue……due, Tuesday, cue

v……van, vet, give

w…..wind, went, swim

x…..x-ray, ox, flex

y……yell, yes, yellow

z……zoo, zebra, buzz

sh……ship, shop, wish

ch……chop, chick, much

th……this, then, with (voiced th)

th……thin, thick, thimble (unvoiced th)

ng……song, bang, string

oo……look, room, foot (little oo)

oo……moon, spoon, shoot (long oo)

ar……art, arm, start

er……kerb, stern, sister

or……order, corn, storm

oi……oil, ointment, spoil

ou……out, cloud, found