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Welcome to Reception

We are delighted to welcome you and your families to ‘Reception’ classes at Thomas Hickman School. We have two separate classes, however, we strive to operate as a whole unit, meaning we have a ‘free flow’ approach, where during many points of the school day, the children can mix together and access the learning in either of the Reception Classrooms or the outdoor area. At THS we are ‘child led’ and follow the interests of our BIRDS as they are more likely to engage in their learning and make good progress across the curriculum. The classes are as follows:

Holly - Miss Holly Roberts (Class Teacher), Miss Olivia Bourke-Smith

Cherry - Mrs Nora Laiche (Class Teacher), Mrs Elaine Hatcher and Miss Ambrine Kalsoom

Autumn Field Of Study:

This term’s Field Of Study is ‘Let’s Explore.’ Initially the children explore themselves, their surroundings and then in the second half term, we move on to exploring celebrations and traditional tales. From 31st October, the class teachers will send out a weekly ‘memo’ on Tapestry, outlining the Key Text and learning for the week with some suggestions of activities you can do at home to support your child’s learning. We hope that this will give you a clearer picture of the exciting opportunities your child has in school each day and some of the strategies we use to help develop their skills and understanding.



All children will have P.E. on Thursdays. Please ensure they come to school in their P.E. kit (suitably warm). On Fridays, the children have Forest School, again, please could the children come to school in suitable warm clothes with wellies and waterproofs (as we will be outside whatever the weather)! Thank you!


We operate an open door policy and there are always Early Years staff available on the door at drop off and pick up for quick messages/conversations. If you would like a longer or more confidential chat with one of the team, please do ask to make an appointment and we will try our best to help. You can also contact Sarah-Jane O'Donnell, our Early Years Leader using the following email address:

In Reception, we focus on meaningful interactions with the children. We are positive play partners and extend the children’s learning through observation and quality questioning. On occasions, we may capture some ‘wow’ moments through photographs, videos or captured speech and these may be shared on the children’s Tapestry Journals, (a platform for online learning journals). We also have a class ‘Busy Bird’ floor book. This is a very special large spiral bound scrap book where the children and staff create a visual representation of their learning journey through the topic. The children can take time to look at their learning together, discussing how they have made progress and remembering all they have learnt. To read more about our vision and approach to the Early Years, please click on the link below.

EYFS Intent, Implementation and Impact

We know how parents are often keen to help children in their learning. Here are some ideas to help!

How can parents support children’s vocabulary development?

Reading to your child is one way to expose your child to more words. If you come across an interesting word in a book, try and use it again in a conversation with your child.

Talking is important. It is closely linked to reading, writing and learning. By playing simple speaking and listening games you may not think you are developing reading and writing, but you are. Get talking!

Word games

1. ‘I spy’. ‘I spy’ is a familiar game, but it is great for learning language and phonics as well as filling in time on journeys. On the bus or in the car one player looks around and spots one item. They then give a clue ‘I spy with my little eye, something beginning with’ (and then say the letter). All other players guess.

2. Big brain. ‘Big brain’ is a variation on ‘I spy’ but rather than seeing something you need to think of an object and the letter it starts with. Great for playing when you are waiting somewhere. For instance: ‘I think with my big brain something that is cold starts with an “I”.’

3. Alphabet lists. Choose a category: it might be something like clothes, food or TV programmes. Then choose a letter. See how many words you can think of from that category that start with the target letter. e.g.: clothes starting with ‘s’: scarf, socks, sweatshirt.

4. One for the bus or car. Start with calling out ‘a’. Everyone then tries to spot something that starts with an ‘a’. When someone has called out an item starting with ‘a’ you can move on to ‘b’ and so on through the alphabet.

5. ‘If I was king/queen for a day.’ Ask your child ‘If you were a king/queen for a day what would you do?’ Give them some time to think of an answer, but once they have answered, ask them why they chose that action. Encourage your child to ask other people what they would do if they were king/queen for a day.

6. Team topic. On the bus or in the car, think of a topic and see how many things you can think of as a team in a set time. A minute might be enough. You can choose any topic but here are some ideas for inspiration: living things, things with wheels, things that make loud noises or things made of metal.

7. Change the story. Take turns to tell well-known stories with your child but make small changes to the story and see where that takes you. Change the character, the setting or the ending. You might have ‘Big Red Riding Hood’ or ‘Goldilocks and the Three Kittens’. What would Big Red Riding Hood do to the wolf?

8. Build a story. One person starts a made-up story with one sentence, such as ‘Once upon a time an enormous giant was sleeping when . . .’ Other players then take turns to build on the story one sentence at a time. This is great to play in a group but is also fun when there are just two of you. Get creative and see what twists and turns you can add to your story. Add as much exciting vocabulary as you can.

9. What does it do? This is another game for journeys: one player calls out an object that they see, and the next person tries to think of five things that it can do / that can be done with it. For instance: ‘tree’ – climb, chop, grow, fall down, and absorb carbon dioxide. If you are stuck indoors, you can look around you or in books and play the same activity. Younger children can just think of one or two things to do with an object.

10. What would you do? Think up small problems that your child might encounter such as getting lost, losing money, finding a mobile phone etc. Ask your child what would they do? Why? Ask other people what would they do and why. Which one is the best? Why? All of this is good practice with reasoning skills which are really important for lessons such as science as well as learning social skills.

11. Word associations. One player starts by saying a word. The next player says a word that is related to the first word. It can be related in any way. If another player cannot see how the words are related, they can challenge, and the connection needs to be explained. Keep going until a word is repeated or a connection cannot be explained. Here is an example: Egypt – Mummy – Dad – beard – Santa Claus – Christmas – trees – leaves - autumn.

12. Ways to say. Brainstorm different ways of talking like ‘mumbling, bellowing, whispering, croaking, and sobbing’. Check that all players know what they mean and have fun acting them out. Write the words on pieces of paper, scrunch them up and place them in a hat. Choose a simple phrase such as ‘It’s almost 4 o’clock.’ Take turns taking a word from the hat, saying the phrase in that style, while others try to guess (and laugh!)

Here are some useful websites you can explore at home with your child:

Culture Street

School Radio, Nursery Rhymes

Top Marks Maths Games

Crick Web