Year 1 – FAQs

What will year 1 be like in September?

Year 1 will be very much like Reception when the children return to school. We are currently working on plans for an outside area for children to use for learning in a play based way. At the beginning part of the year, there will be no morning playtimes, as the children will be learning through play in the classroom and outside environment. The children will also have two assemblies at the start of the year on a Monday and Friday (this will increase to one every day when we move to the more formal approach of year 1). Adults will be supporting children with their writing and maths each week as well as reading with your child. Your child will have PE once a week and will need to ensure they have a PE kit in school. The normal school day will start with phonics, and the children will have carpet sessions throughout the day to shape the learning for the children’s independent learning opportunities. Lunchtime will be from 12.15 until 1.15 every day. Your child will also stay in the same class with the same children.

Why have we changed the way we work in Year 1?

We have decided to change the provision for the start of year 1 to ensure children transition successfully from reception to year 1 and we believe that this style of learning is best for the children. We normally do this for a few weeks but have decided to extend this to at least the autumn term and possibly the spring term. As a school, we have visited other settings and researched this style of learning in year 1 before the COVID pandemic in order to review our current approach at the beginning of the year. A play based learning approach enables children to continue to be independent, creative, and curious and helps to develop their perseverance skills. Our brains learn more in a play mode and there is lots of research, which supports this approach. The children have missed a huge amount of learning time due to COVID and it is important that we support the children to ensure we can build on the foundations, which were made in Reception and support them in the best way to settle into year 1.

What can I do at home to prepare my child for coming back to school?

Over the holidays, it would be great if you could continue to support your child with their letter formation and their understanding of number. This could involve counting, adding and subtracting numbers. It would also be good if you could continue to support your child with phonics and make use of the free usage of Phonic Play online. We will be sending some ideas for you on Evidence Me to help too. Please spend time reading and make use of Purple Mash.

How will school support my child after COVID?

When the children return to school, we will be settling them into their new routines following Government guidance. We will be finding out what your child can do and building upon this in order to support their development. Please be reassured we will do the best for your child once they return.

What methods of communication do you use in Year 1?

In year 1 like in reception, we continue to use email and text messages to communicate messages. Evidence Me is a learning platform we use for Reception and when you move up to year 1, we use Seesaw. We will be asking you to sign up in September and asking for your permission to share your child’s photo online and with other parents in line with GDPR.

Will children be still be provided with milk and fruit?

Children have access to a daily piece of fruit or vegetables to eat in the classroom throughout the day, such as apples, pears, bananas, carrots and strawberries in the summer like they did in Reception. Unfortunately, milk was only free up until your child’s 5th birthday. Please contact the office if you would like milk but please be aware there will be a charge for this. Please also send your child to school with a water bottle to use.

How do lunchtimes work in Year 1 and will my child be provided with lunch?

In Year 1, lunchtimes are from 12.15- 1.15. We are unsure if these timings will stay the same in September due to Government guidelines but will let you know when we have plans in place. Children have the option to have a hot school dinner or you can provide them with a packed lunch. Make the most of our school dinners as meals are free. We are a healthy eating school, which you are probably aware of so no crisps, chocolate or fizzy drinks. We are also a nut free school, so please do not send your child with peanut butter sandwiches. Chocolate spread can also contain nuts, so watch out!

You are able to decide between a packed lunch option or a school dinner option throughout the week. You will receive a menu which will tell you what will be served on each day. We continue to have halal and vegetarian options available each day too.

When do we do PE?

We have weekly PE slots in the hall and can use the playground for PE sessions when it is warm enough. Look out for our newsletter when we come back to school, which will let you know when your child has PE. Please ensure they have a PE kit in school. PE may look slightly different in September so please keep an eye out for more information.

What homework do the children get?

Everyday your child will take a reading book home for you to share together. These books are ‘Reading for Pleasure’ books. They will also receive a ‘Learning to Read’ book twice a week. This book is to be read over a number of days to help your child develop their decoding skills, fluency and comprehension. It will come with a reading diary, which outlines what you do on each day with some prompts. You will have to record your child’s successes and anything we may need to work on together. These books are matched to their phonic knowledge, allowing children to begin to read more independently and develop their phonic understanding. Following this, you will have a red book where you can help your child to work on their comprehension and writing skills. Within the diary, you will also have some words to learn to read each week. These words are tricky words and the year 1 common exception words, which do not follow normal spelling patterns or use phonetic knowledge but can be found in lots of texts your child may read. There may also be maths games too but we will discuss this in September to ensure we are working in line with the government guidance. There will be further information about this in September when the children return to school.

How do children learn in the classroom or outside area? How is it different from Reception?

We help the children to learn through playing, exploring and being active. This means children will take part in a range of fun, practical activities; some of which are adult led, some guided by adults and some will be child-initiated. We plan to work like this up until the middle of the spring term to ensure your child settles and are ready to move to a more formal style of learning in Year 1. Within the different curriculum areas, there will be challenges just like in reception. Hot, boiling hot and on fire. Your child can choose which challenge they want to do. We use the National Curriculum to plan the learning for children. Please see the school website for more information about the curriculum. We have changed the books we use this year, to larger books, which gives the children more space to work. This is something new for the children as they will be expected to work with adults in an exercise book and will be taught how to look after it. After your child has worked with an adult, the adult will mark it, acknowledging great things in green and give your child next steps using a pink colour. The next steps further your child’s knowledge and understanding. The next step may be a spelling, adding punctuation, letter or number formation, finding another way to solve a problem, or to explain an answer and so on. Next steps are personalised to the child. Once they have done it, an adult with acknowledge it with a next step-achieved stamp. The adult led learning will take place inside and out. Within the learning environment, there will be opportunities for the children to work independently or with their peers. The learning opportunities will be open-ended and there will be a range of activities. The children will learn about the world around them, build, and have access to role-play, have access to computers or ipads, book areas and so on.

What are the curriculum topics for the Autumn term?

In Autumn one, we look at ourselves. We learn about how we can be fit and healthy and what we need to do in order to achieve this. We learn about how we have changed since we were a baby too. We also work on a display that goes in the corridor, which celebrates how we are all different and special. In Autumn two, we have an explorer topic which involves us learning about different places in the world and different explorers. We learn in a cross-curricular approach and do our best to teach using the topic as a starting point. For example, when learning about explorers, we will do some non-fiction writing about different explorers and their expeditions.

What is the Phonics Screening Check?

At the end of the year children normally take part in a statutory assessment to ensure children are making sufficient progress in phonics. We are unsure of the expectations for your child but will await information from the Government about this due to COVID.

Please keep an eye out for phonic workshops, which will give you more information about this and will help you develop your own understanding of phonics. Please also see the school website for support in phonics. You can find information and support with phonics under the curriculum tab.