My name is Mr. Hudson and I am the Class Teacher and Early Years Coordinator. I am very ably kept on my toes by Mrs. Haynes and Mrs. Skeffington. Child initiated learning is at the very heart of Early Years provision at Birches Green; just as it should be. We carefully design our classrooms and our curriculum to provide challenge and high-quality learning. Learning 'in absence of the teacher'; the children are able to access the continuous provision and the resources available to them in ways we could never imagine or plan. The beauty of this approach is that the children work at an appropriate level for their currents skills and understanding, and that engagement and motivation rocket! The skill of the teacher, is to know each child and their individual next steps in all areas of learning and then to engage in their chosen activities, finding ways to move each child's learning forward. This approach, when combined with our daily teacher led sessions of phonics and number blast, helps to develop fully rounded and engaged learners with a thirst for challenge and bursting with confidence and pride in their achievements.
We will add new content regularly, so please keep coming back to see what's new. Also if you have any suggestions of things that you would like us to upload, please let us know. You can contact us via the contact form at the bottom of our page or via our Twitter account. Please follow us @BGI_Robins for daily updates of fantastic learning.
Just a personal note to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching your children. Birches Green is a wonderful school full of talented, dedicated and caring staff, and I consider myself lucky to have worked there, even for a short time. I have loved getting to know you all and feel privileged to have been able to spend my days with the Robins. The Robins have regularly taken my breath away, both individually and as a collective, with their ability to learn, aspire, rise to the challenge and continually surpass my expectations. They are a class of wonderfully individual children all of whom are a real credit to their parents. All of them. I wish them, you, and the school well for the future and thank you all for your support and kindness.
With very warm regards,
As part of Birches Green 'Green Day' the children went on a mini-beast hunt. They had a wonderful time exploring and discovering. We found newts, millipedes, slugs, snails, spiders, worms and woodlice. The children were very engaged and worked wonderfully together. Here are some photos and videos to give you a flavour of our expedition.
Tanisha wrote this at home. It really made me smile. It's like a little poem. Well done Tanisha.
We love to celebrate achievement, hard work and creativity at Birches Green. This young man has demonstrated all of those skills recently during independent learning. His art work is FANTASTIC. Clean lines, defined space, vibrant colours and excellent pencil work. Lots of the children and staff have been impressed by his concentration and the effort he puts into his art. I have been so impressed that I thought he should be Reception's very first 'Artist in Residence'. A selection ofhis work can be seen in the main entrance of the school; and the maestro has promised to do more, to update his collection. Well done young man.
During our daily phonics sessions, we challenge the children to correctly identify and write digraph sounds (ar, oo, ee, igh etc) and to write words and sentences with those sounds in. We also ask them to read and write 'alien words'. Alien words are nonsense words that enable us to determine the phonic knowledge of the children. In the summer term we aim to further develop the children's independence when writing, by asking them to think of their own sentences. Generally speaking, when the children have to think of their own sentence content, they forget the basics of spelling; using their sounds; finger spaces and full stops etc. So to address this during phonics we now show the children different pictures and ask them to think of and write their own sentences, completely independently. Here are some examples on independent writing.
I set a maths challenge every few days and ask the children to use a variety of different tools and mathematical language to explore and problem solve. After modeling different possible approaches and ways of recording their findings, the children are set free and challenged to work intelligently and independently. Adults are on hand to answer questions and model good use of language, resources and ways of learning; however the focus is on the children's cognitive advancement through a 'trial and error' approach. Here are some examples of the children's recent work after a 'weighing', a 'float or sink' and a 'measuring' challenge; and the end of a problem solving money session.
As part of the children's personal, social and emotional development; and to develop their commuincation and langauge skills, we provide opportunities for the children to experience spontaneoous and unplanned interaction. That is to say, we allow the children to experience 'challenge' from each other and encourage them to negotiaite, problem solve and share both the space and resources appropriately. Adults are close-by and poised, ready to step-in and model behaviour, however wherever possible we encourage the children to sort out their problems independently. Our evironment and approach to learning in Early Years at Birches Green are designed to encourage independence, interaction and 'real life' learning.
In Early Years education, physical development is a PRIME AREA of learning. This means it's of paramount importance and the way we teach the children should always try and incorporate some element of movement; be it gross motor movements (running, jumping, climbing, twirling etc) or fine motor movements (writitng, threading, tying, cutting etc). In the following examples the children were learning how to climb safely. We talked about using both our hands and feet to climb and keeping our bodies close to the climbing frame. We explored climbing up, down, across and through. We encouraged the children to evaluate the 'risk' and make their own judgements about their confidence and ability. With the considerations made, the adults were on hand to encourage support, challenge and lend a hand if needed.
These photographs and video show the children being challenged to be 'phyiscal' in the way that they use the indoor and outdoor space. Having an 'enabling environment' encourages them to move in different ways, using both their arms, legs, feet and hands. These types of movements help to make the connections between the left and right sides of the brain. These connections are essential for life-long learning. Children learn by 'doing'.
Here is a sneaky peek into some of our learning journals. Every child's journal is different and records an indvidual learning journey. All staff in Reception contribute towards observations and the work that goes in the books. The children regularly review their leanring; submit work they would like to inculde; and talk about their strengths and areas for develpoment. In addition, parents contribute through WOW vouchers, Parent Drop in's and via Twitter. Everything that goes into the journals paints a picture of the child and helps us to make our assessments and judeements throughout the year. At the end of the year the children get to take their journals home. We are very proud of our journals.
As part of our Understanding the World work, we have been learning how to make predictions, test our theories and record our results. Recently we have been carrying out experiments on gingerbread men. We have dropped them, dipped them, rolled them, squashed them, submerged them and made them into bridges, all in the interests of science. Amazingly, the children have been carrying out these experiments at home (with the help of their parents) and then tweeting the results back to school for us all to share. Here are some of the Twitter predictions to the 'how many dips' question.
Here are some of the results of the home experiments....
Here are some photos of our school work...
I posed another question over Twitter...
Here are some of the predictions from home....
Here are the actual photographs of the experiment....
As the ice cube melted, the water soaked in to the gingerbread man's tummy, weakening the bridge until it collapsed. Lilly's nan made the most accurate prediction. Happy side for Lilly's nan.
And finally, an apology for any expanded waistlines due to the increased presence of gingerbread!
Great job everyone. Thank you.
These examples are of children solving subtraction number sentences by 'counting back'. During our daily Number Blast sessions, we support the children to understand number concepts and processes like addition and subtraction; more and less; ordering consecutive and non-consecutive numbers; and problem solving. And more, much more. We challenge the children to go above and beyond the expectations of Reception and the Early Years Outcomes. The sky is the limit.
We have been experimenting with different ways of representing our ideas through art. In these examples we used a variety of different materials to create artwork inspired by things we had been talking about at school. I was very impressed by the results.
We are delighted to show-off Reception's WOW board. Lots and lots of parents have sent in WOW vouchers telling us all about the fantastic things that their children are getting up to at home. We have been very impressed - examples of writing, reading, counting, helping around the house, drawing, looking after siblings; to name but a few examples. The children love their WOW vouchers, are very proud of them. Copies of the WOW vouchers are put into the children's journals and used to help us make our judgements and assessments throughout the year.
Characteristics of Effective Learning - Showing a 'can do' attitude.
(WOW vouchers can be downloaded from the bottom of this page. Alternatively speak to a member of staff).
Here are some examples of the WOW vouchers that the children have started writing for each other. Super independent writing, all child-initiated.
Useful bits and bobs.