St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Thame

Inspired to be our best.....


Precursive letter formation sheet 

How to pronounce phonics sounds:

How to blend phonics sounds:

Geraldine the Giraffe does 'i':

September 2022

Friday 25th November 2022

This week in Reception we sang and read lots of nursery rhymes together. We really enjoyed singing ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ and making spiders and drain pipes for them to crawl down. We same ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ and make sheep. We enjoyed singing ‘Jack and Jill’ and we made rainbow themed ‘Get Well’ cards for them. We were very interested in why Jack used vinegar and brown paper to mend his head! In phonics, we have been focusing on reviewing the sounds we have already learned and putting our phonetic knowledge to practice by doing lots of reading and writing - we especially enjoyed reading and writing CVC words. In maths, we have also been doing lots of reviewing what we have learned. We really enjoyed making our own patterns and competing to see who could build the tallest tower!

The Nativity show is coming along very nicely and the children are getting really excited for their adults to come and watch the show in just a couple of weeks’ time. Please keep practicing your child’s lines at home with them so they are confident when it is their turn to say them on stage.

We are looking forward to starting our new topic next week, ‘Come and Join the Celebration’. The first celebration we are learning about is birthdays and we all know how much every child loves talking about their birthday!

Friday 18th November 2022

This week in Reception we continued our Nursery Rhyme theme, but instead of focusing on eggs, we looked at Nursery Rhymes that include mice. We loved singing ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’ and ‘Three Blind Mice’ and did a really good job remembering what happens in the story and putting the pictures from the story in the right order. We had a think about what the mice’s names could be and wrote them name tags, created our own clocks and we loved creating menus for our farmer’s market café. We spent time outside creating dens for the mice to live in and learned about and labelled the parts of a mouse. In maths, we have been comparing the numbers we have learned about so far and we worked on developing our understanding of time by sorting picture cards into things that happen in the day and things that happen in the night. The children have been working so hard on their phonics and reading skills – we are so proud of them! They’ve done an amazing job learning the new sounds ‘r’, ‘j’, ‘v’, and ‘y’ and really enjoyed looking at pictures of a yak to help them write the ‘y’ letter sound.

On Friday, the children participated in a really special assembly to welcome all of the new children and families to St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School. The children really enjoyed sharing the things they loved to do with their friends and family and did a fantastic job singing a lovely little song. They were most excited about getting a ‘Welcome Certificate’ and their house badges from Mrs. Gowers. What a fantastic week everyone, well done!

Friday 11th November 2022

This week in Reception we have been continuing our Nursery Rhyme theme, singing about Humpty Dumpty and learning about the life cycle of a chicken – we haven’t decided which comes first, the chicken or the egg! We also learned about Diwali and how it is celebrated around the world in different countries. We made our own Diya Lamps out of clay and we are looking forward to painting them with lots of brightly coloured paints next week. In honour of Remembrance Day, we joined the whole school for a Remembrance Day assembly, led by Years 5 and 6 and then participated in a 1 minute’s silence in the playground at 11am. The children did an incredible job being silent and respectful. To remember the day, we painted pictures of poppies and wrote poems about Remembrance Day. In Phonics, we learned the ‘e’, ‘l’, ‘h’ and ‘sh’ sounds. We found the ‘sh’ slightly tricky as it was our very first digraph! In Maths, we have been looking at the different ways we can make the numbers two and three, practicing writing our number shapes and counting. We have had a week full of learning and we’re looking forward to even more fun next week.

Friday 4th November 2022

What a fun and busy start to the new half term! This week in Reception we started a new topic called ‘Humpty and Friends’ which is all about our favourite nursery rhymes. This week we have been singing ‘Humpty Dumpty’ and doing lots of things to help Humpty Dumpty Feel better after he fell off of the wall. We wrote Humpty Dumpty get well cards, which we delivered to him in hospital – they made him feel much better! We also made Humpty Dumpty out of paper mâché and built a more stable wall outside for Humpty to sit on!

In maths we have been beginning to look at numbers, specifically numbers 1, 2 and 3. We have been counting up and down, exploring 1, 2 and 3 items and talking about the different ways to make these numbers. In phonics, we have been diligently learning new sounds and beginning to blend and write short words with the sounds we have learned so far. It is incredibly impressive how much the children have learned so far!

 We have had a really fun start to the term and are really look forward to another exciting week next week.


Autumn Term 1 2022

What a fun-filled term it has been in Reception class. We are so proud of how easily everyone has settled into our school and how hard they have worked on their learning – what an amazing start to the year!

This term’s topic has been ‘All about Me.’ We have been taking the time to get to know each other, appreciating that everyone is different and comes from different backgrounds. We’ve been playing a lot of games to help us to get to know each other and spending a lot of time sharing the things we love with the class through Show and Tell. As well as exploring our senses of sight, hearing, taste and smell, we have been using our sense of touch to create lots of fantastic art projects, such as our Kandinsky circles based on our learning of colour mixing. We have been very excited to draw family portraits and create models of our own houses to show our classmates.

In phonics, we have been learning lots of new sounds including m, a, s, d, t, i, n, p, g, o, c, k and u. The children have been very excited to practice writing the new sounds and use them to begin reading and writing simple words and captions. We have also been sharing lots of stories together about different families and have enjoyed learning about families around the world through books such as Handa’s Surprise. In maths, we have been practicing matching objects that are similar and using our observations of similarities and differences to sort and group objects into different categories. We have also been comparing amounts and using the language of ‘more’, ‘fewer’ or ‘the same’ to describe amounts in relation to each other. We enjoying using autumn leaves to practice comparing size and sand to practice comparing capacity.

In RE we have been learning about creation with a focus on how everyone is different, celebrating the unique gifts and talents that God has given everyone one of us. We have also been talking about how God’s book is called the Bible. We are getting very good at remembering our lunchtime prayer and we are working hard on showing respect during prayer times.

It has been a very successful start to the year! We hope you have a very relaxing half term and are looking forward to many more exciting adventures when we come back next term.

Thursday 21st July 2022

What an exciting and adventurous last week of school we have had in Reception this week! We hope that everyone manged to work on their home learning and stay cool on Monday and Tuesday – some of the hottest days the UK has ever had! In school we have been spending lots of time with your friends and teachers and getting ready to go into Year 1 next year. We really enjoyed virtually attending the leavers mass on Thursday morning – we are going to miss our Year 6 friends and wish them all the best of luck next year in Secondary School!

We are so incredibly proud of all that this lovely Reception class has achieved this year. Each and every one of you has worked incredibly hard and found a very special place in our hearts. We have watched you learn and grow throughout the year and we are going to miss you lots and lots next year! We wish you all the very best for next year in Year 1 – we know you will be amazing. Come and visit us!

We hope you have a relaxing summer and we will see your lovely faces around the school next year  

Friday 15th July 2022

This week in Reception we have been learning all about old and new things. We read a book about an old bear and another book about an old hat. We had a lot of fun designing our own silly new hats! We created a spa outside to try to keep cool. We made posters to advertise what treatments you could get at the spa and then created lovely scented water with fruit, herbs and flowers that we dipped our hands and feet in.

We did lots of show and tell this week too! We did a great job talking about the things we brought in from home and describing why they are special to us. We really enjoyed watching Year 6 perform their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We were so inspired, that we created our own production in class and performed it live.

Despite the heat, we found lots of ways to stay cool and have fun. We can’t believe the year is almost over – only one more fun-filled week to go!

Friday 1st July 2022

This week in Reception we participated in Sports Week. We took part in lots of different sports including boxing, skipping, athletics and dancing. We learned a dance to a musical called ‘Hairspray’ and we loved being able to strike our own poses at the end! We spent time talking about what it means to be a ‘good sport’ and that it is not always about winning, but having fun and taking part. We made medals out of clay and wrote each other well done cards for all of our hard work. In Maths we have been learning about how doubles and sharing equally are related. In Phonics we have been learning new sounds and red words and practicing writing full sentences and remembering our capital letter, fingers spaces and a full stop at the end. We enjoyed using a question mark instead of a full stop to to write a silly question.

We are really looking forward to showing off all of our amazing athletic skills on Sports Day next week!

Friday 24th June 2022

This week in Reception we have been learning all about ‘Pretty Things’. We talked a lot about how everyone has a different idea of what it ‘pretty’ and how to look after those things that are meaningful to us. We had a great time making treasure chests and finding ‘treasure’ from the outside area to put in them. We read a story about a witch and a troll that taught us that we are pretty just the way we are. We made magic wands and used them to help us read, we made witches hats, which helped us to write sentences and we wrote a menu of yucky food that witch and the troll will eat at their picnic – we particularly enjoyed the slug slime stew! To help the new Reception children learn their way around the classroom, we drew labelled maps of our classroom that they could us to navigate and figure out where everything is. We thought of everything, even the toilets!

In Maths we have been learning about doubling. We are very good at knowing our doubling facts and now we are making sure we  have a deep understanding of what it means to double a number or quantity. We enjoyed reading ‘Double the Ducks’ and doubling all of the things that the ducks would need if they brought a friend over for dinner. In Phonics,  we have been learning some new sounds and practicing upleveling our writing to correct the mistakes we made and make it even more interesting.

We spent some time in Year 1 this week, getting to know our teachers and our classroom for next year. We really enjoyed spending time with the Year 1 children and are really looking forward to being in Year 1 next year.

Friday 17th June 2022

This week in Reception we started a new topic that is all about how to look after our planet called ‘What on Earth?’. This week, we have been learning all about living things. We pretended to be biologists and learned all about what living things need such as energy and to grow and change. We also talked about how non-living things don’t need these things because they are not alive! We played guess who with mini-beasts and made our friends read our clues to try to guess which mini-beast we were describing. We talked about the lifecycle of a butterfly and created playdough butterflies and labelled the parts of it’s body.

We have been doing a lot of revisiting the phonics and Maths we have learned so far this year and we are all very pleased with how much knowledge and learning we have managed to retain! We were very excited to spend some time in Year 1 this week, playing and doing some wonderful work. We all had a blast and are excited to go back again next week.

What a fantastic (and hot!) week we have had this week. We’re looking forward to another beautiful week next week.

Friday 10th June 2022

This week in Reception it has been learning all about the Queen and her Platinum Jubilee in preparation for our Jubilee picnic on Friday. We are so excited to welcome our mummies and daddies to our school and give them a chance to see all of the brilliant work we have been doing! We have been looking at pictures of the queen throughout her life and talking about the differences we can see in the old pictures compared to the more recent ones. We learned some funny facts about the queen and we were all very interested to find out that she gets to celebrate two birthdays! We have also been making crowns, bunting, tiny soldiers and pop art of Queen Elizabeth II.                    

In phonics we have been practicing segmenting our sounds to spell and write a sentence. We read the story 'The Queen’s Hat’ and wrote sentences about where her hat would end up next – some of us thought it would be very funny for her hat to land on a soldier’s head! In Maths, we have been reviewing adding and learning about taking away. We played some fun games with the queen’s jewels to help us add and take away.

We have had an amazing start to the last term of the year and we look forward to next week being just as good!

Friday 27th May 2022

This week in Reception we are learning all about Queen Elizabeth in preparation for the Platinum Jubilee. We have been making crowns and sitting on our reading ‘throne’ to read our favourite stories to the other children. We also made Union Jack flags and painted stamps with the queen’s profile. We learned all about landmarks around the UK and then made them out of playdough and placed them on a giant map! We did lots of great writing this week including writing facts about the queen, writing about places we would like to go see in London and invitations to a Jubilee party.

In Phonics we have been reviewing the sounds that we have already learned and practicing our reading comprehension skills – it can be tricky to remember what we read sometimes! In Maths we learned about spatial reasoning and then created Maths stories to talk about addition. We enjoyed playing the bus game and rolling a dice to see how many people came on and off the bus at each stop. We are getting super good at writing number sentences! 

In PE we have been learning a dance and doing lots of practicing so we can show it off at our Jubilee Picnic after half term. In RE we had a very special visit from Father David who came to talk to us in the Mary Garden all about Mary and why we focus on her special example to us in the month of May.

The children have been absolutely amazing this half-term. We hope you all get a well-deserved rest over the half-term.

Friday 20th May 2022

This week in Reception we were visited by the Cat in the Hat! After reading the book by Dr. Seuss, we noticed that the Cat in the Hat was leaving messes in our classroom. We’ve been spending the week looking for him – he is leaving us lots of clues as to where he has been around the school. We really enjoyed finding rhyming words, writing our own poems and making wanted posters for the Cat in the Hat. Outside, we’ve been looking closely at minibeasts, including making bug hotels and making clay models out of the minibeasts we found and observed.

In Maths we have continued working really hard on remembering our number bonds to 5 and using our spatial reasoning to manipulate shapes. We learned about Matisse’s snail and made our own tangram animals using shapes. Some of us even made ourselves out of shapes! In phonics we have been practicing our comprehension skills – not just reading, but understanding what we are reading. It’s a bit tricky, but we will be amazing at it with some practice, we’re sure.

We had a fantastic week and we’re looking forward to learning all about the Queen next week in preparation for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Friday 13th May 2022

This week in Reception we have been learning all about gardening. We learned that plants need water, soil and sunlight to grow and planted our own sunflowers. We even made some labels for our sunflowers! We talked about the different parts of plant and spent time lots of time outside carefully observing and drawing the plants we saw. We talked about how to stay safe in the sun by wearing and sun hat, drinking water, wearing sun cream and playing the in the shade and we made our own sunhats to wear outside.  

In Phonics, we’ve been focusing on reviewing all of the sounds we learned so far and trying really hard to write beautiful sentences that include all of our writing ‘must haves’: capital letters, a full stop and finger spaces. In Maths we have been looking closely at numbers to 20 and number bonds to five and 10.

We’ve had a fantastic week playing in the sunshine and we hope that next week we can start to see our sunflowers grow!

Friday 6th May 2022

This week in Reception we have been learning all about Hats throughout history. We looked at lots of different types of hats, such as the bowler and the top hat and talked about when and why people wore them and how their life was different to ours back then. We read the story ‘Dogger’ by Shirley Hughes and discussed the differences between the dress and lives of the characters in the story compared to our own. We had a fantastic time building and making signs for our fair ground stall, like the ones in the story, and making things, such as cakes, juice, jewellery and toys to sell in our stalls.

We have been keeping an eye on the seeds that we planted last week with Year 6. The Eco Captains came back to check on our seeds this week to make sure they were growing well – some of the Watercress is already growing! They showed us how to top up the soil and water the plants to make sure that they grow.

In English we have been working diligently at reading and writing the tricky words and we have been doing lots of writing about our favourite toys, remembering our full stops and finger spaces. In Maths, we have been counting to 20 and exploring the pattern in the number system. In PE, we played target games, practicing our underhand throw.

We really enjoyed learning about history this week and can’t wait to find out which part of history we are going to talk about next week.

Friday 29th April 2022

This week in Reception we have been learning all about dentists and veterinarians.  We have been learning about healthy and unhealthy food for our teeth and how to brush our teeth properly to help take care of them.  We’ve also been learning about what veterinarians do and how they help us to take good care of our pets.

In Maths we have been using our knowledge of number bonds to 5 and 10 to help us find subtraction facts and we are using bunny ears to help us!  We’ve also been learning lots of new words, including words with split diagraphs, which we found a bit tricky to begin with.  We’re working really hard on being able to read and write our tricky red words, so please do keep practicing these at home.

Finally, the Year 6 Eco Captains came to visit us this week!  Together, we planted lots of seeds, including, sunflowers, kale, courgette and pumpkin.  We learned all about how plants grow from a little seed and what they need to grow healthy and strong.  We are very excited to keep them well watered and see them grow.  Thank you Year 6 for a lovely time!

Friday 8th April 2022

This week in Reception we have been learning all about how the Police help us in our community.  We love playing ‘Catch the Robber’ but this week we learned that being a Police Officer is not just about catching bad guys, police do a lot of other interesting things as well.  We had fun writing speeding tickets for people on the scooters, writing incident reports and helping out classmates. 

On Wednesday we visited the Fire Station and we have an absolute blast!  We learned all about what how to be safe with fire, how to use the special equipment (like the water hose), got rescued from a river and even got to sit in the Fire Engine! A really big thank you to the Firefighters for letting us come to visit and giving up their time to teach us all about what they do.  The children were a credit to each and every family, because their behaviour was exceptional. We now have a bit recruitment of Fire Fighters in the years to come.

We hope you have a lovely Easter break and we will see you in the next term. 

Friday 1st April 2022

This week in Reception we learned all about Firefighters and how they help us. We drew pictures of firefighters, played maths games with ladders that firefighters use, we made traffic lights and practiced reading words all about firefighters.  We loved dressing up as firefighters and putting out chalk flames with our sprayers and racing up and down firefighter ladders in our firefighter uniforms for PE. We are learned a lot of new facts about the fire brigade from our non-fiction books in the reading corner and we spent lots of time playing school and teaching our classmates these new facts. We even spent time outside in the snow practicing how to be safe when it is slippery outside.

We had a fantastic week this week and are looking forward to next week when we are going to learn all about Police officers!

Friday 25th March 2022

What a week we have had in Reception.  We loved seeing all the children back in school again this week.  We have had a great time playing doctors and our role play has really taken off.  We have had so many patience but our fabulous doctors and nurses have made everything better.  We have made our own germs by doing a blowing activity with straw.  In writing this week we have been making more get well soon cards and writing messages to the doctor.  The weather has been amazing and we have enjoy lots of fun in the garden. 
Looking forward to next week where we will be learning about firefighters.  Enjoy the sunshine and have a lovely weekend. 

Friday 11th March 2022

This week in Reception we started a new topic all about people who help us. This week we focused on people who help us at home and at school. We wrote thank-you cards to thank people who help us at home and at school and we helped the school by using our litter pickers to pick up litter.  We had a great time washing our cars and bikes outside and we washed the doll clothes the ‘old fashioned way’ by giving them a good rub in some water and hanging them on a washing line.

In Maths, we have been practicing our doubling and numbers bonds to ten – we are starting to get really good at them! In phonics we have learned so many sounds, that we are really starting to be able to read most things. We particularly enjoyed watching Geraldine do the ‘oy’ sound today!

In PE, we’ve been learning Irish dancing, which we really enjoyed. In RE, we’ve continued learning about Lent and wrote our own prayers to God to help us to be patient and kind and to help us with our learning.

It’s been a good week and we’re looking forward to what adventures next week will bring!

Friday 4th March 2022

It feels so nice to be back in Reception after a restful week off!  We have had a busy week this week and we have learned about lots of different subjects.  This week is our last week of our space unit and we have been learning all about aliens.  We read the book ‘Beegu’ and talk about what her planet could look like and how she might feel about our planet, Earth.

Now that Lent has started, we learned a lot about what Lent is all about and why it happens just before Easter.  We watched Father David burn the palms from last year to create ashes, and on Wednesday, we attended a virtual mass and, afterwards, received a blessing from Father David.  Father David came to visit on Friday to talk to us about Lent and the story behind Easter. We talked about what people usually give up for Lent and agreed that we could focus on doing nice things for people in the season of Lent.

It was a busy start to the term and we’re looking forward to next week, when we start a new topic!

Friday 18th February 2022

This week Reception have been learning all about the Planets in our Solar System. We practiced writing the names of all of the planets and used our capital letters, full stops and finger spaces to write them in silly sentences. We also imagined visiting a planet and wrote sentences about which planet we would visit and why. We continued building rocket ships out of carboard boxes and drew and labelled our own rocket ships. We loved singing ‘Zoom Zoom Zoom, We’re Going to the Moon’ and ‘Five Little Men in a Flying Saucer’.

In Maths we have been focusing on our number bonds to ten and five and ordered rocket ships and stars in size order and then made hats out of them! In Phonics we enjoyed learning lots of new sounds including some more tricky digraphs and trigraphs. We’ve been learning two new tricky words, ‘there’ and ‘want’, so please keep practicing those at home. In PE we practiced galloping this week, which we found trickier than we thought!

This week were really lucky to be able to read with the Year 5 children. We loved sharing stories with them – they were really good story tellers and listeners!

We were sad not to be able to see everyone on Friday because of the storm, but we hope that you have a fantastic (and safe!) half-term and we look forward to seeing you again in a week’s time.

Friday 11th February 2022

This week in Reception we started a new topic, all about space! This week we learned all about rockets.  We learned a lot from Tim Peak (British astronaut) and Chris Hadfield (Canadian astronaut) about what it is like to live on the International Space Station.  It turns out that not having gravity makes things like washing your hands, brushing your teeth and making a sandwich much trickier!  We wrote the astronauts postcards to make sure they were up-to-date with what was going on earth while they were floating around in space.

We had a really fun time writing recipes and making space tortillas and we even launched a rocket into the sky!  We built big and small rockets, and make shape rockets with numbers and our names.

In Maths, we have been working on our number bonds to 5 and 10 and in phonics we are working on some more digraphs. We are working hard to remember that two letters make one sound when we are learning about digraphs. In PE we’ve been practicing our jumping, like rockets into the sky!

What a fun way to start a new topic, we can’t wait to see what we learn about space next week!

Friday 4th February 2022

The children have been having a fabulous week celebrating Chinese New Year. We have loved making a Chinese restaurant and dressing up in our Chinese outfits. We watched the dragons dancing and made our own dragons. 
We have also been making shark teeth and dolphins to finish off our 'Under The Sea' topic. We made them into necklaces so we could wear them. 
In RE we have been learning about Baptism and we went to visit the Church last week.  Fr David was very kind and acted out a Baptism with us to help us to understand what happens. 
We are so proud of all the children as the buzz in the classroom was amazing this week. We have come to the end of our Under The Sea topic and can't wait to start our new topic ‘Blast Off’ next week. Have the most amazing week and we will see you in space next week!

Friday 28th January 2022

This week in Reception we have been continuing our Under the Sea theme by learning all about crustaceans! We found lots of rhyming words in our book ‘Commotion in the Ocean’ and we played guess who by writing sentences about a crustacean.  We’ve been exploring shade and patterns in art by painting our own shells and we’ve been using our imaginations to make our own boats. We discussed how to reduce plastics in our oceans and did out part to clean up our own little ‘beach’ in class. We’ve been focusing on perseverance this week and our motto has been ‘I didn’t give up!’. We loved designing encouraging stickers to give to our friends when they persevered with something they found tricky.

In Maths, we have been learning all about the number 6, 7 and 8 and how to make them in different ways. We learned about how all three of those numbers can be represented by ‘5 and a bit’ and talked about how that can help us later when we do maths in our heads. In Phonics, we’re moving on to diagraphs and trigraphs and expanding our vocabulary every day.

In RE we have been learning about Baptisms. We took a trip to the church to baptise one of our dolls and had a chance to speak Father David about Baptisms and what they mean. We’ve been keen to do our own baptisms since we got back! In PE, we’ve been learning about being self-aware of our bodies and making sure we know how to avoid accidentally crashing into people – it’s a lot harder than it sounds!

Friday 14th January 2022

This week in Reception we have been learning about Whales, Sharks and Dolphins in our Under the Sea topic.  We read non-fiction books all about whales, dolphins and sharks and tried to remember the facts we learned to label pictures of each animal.  We loved role playing in the submarine that we build and we have been seeing lots of different aquatic animals while peering out the window of our submarine.  We learned about how shark teeth have different purposes and that some whales have baleen instead of teeth.  We’re in the process of making salt-dough sea animals which we are going to paint next week by exploring combining colours.

In Maths, we have been concentrating on finding one more and one less than the numbers to ten.  We have even been writing number sentences and trying to remember what the symbols mean and where they go.  We have been learning lots of new sounds in phonics and have started talking about diagraphs (two letters make one sound) – we have learned an impressive amount of sounds so far and we are getting really good at blending to read and segmenting to spell.

In PE we practiced walking backwards, stepping backwards with our toes first and making sure we look over our shoulder to see where we were going. It was a lot harder than we thought!

What a busy and tiring first full week back after Christmas. We are glad for a rest this weekend before another exciting week next week.

Links and Support Information for Transition 

Am I ready for Reception - Top Tips for Parents and Carers - Click here

You may be interested in the following link to a BBC bitesize page with guidance and videos to support starting primary school: