Pioneers Class

Pioneers children are Reception aged (four or five years old). Children enjoy a range of creative and engaging play based activities, as well as formal inputs, to support their development and growth. Children in Pioneers are taught by Mrs Hann, Mrs McGill and Miss Greaves.

Learning begins the minute they walk through the door. The classroom is a carefully curated collection of wonderful things to allow the children to flourish. The classroom is theirs and everything in it is there for a purpose. What they chose to do may be completely different for each individual. This is when the learning happens. The resources are ready to use and accessible and the team work together to create, to communicate, to count and to grow 

Each day starts with exploration of the resources and suggestions for learning set out around the room. The Pioneers will come together for teaching. This will happen in small groups, as a whole class and often one to one. Across the day we will gather for mathematics, reading, writing and phonics sessions, to share stories and to learn about the world.

PE kits are in school all week to allow us to do PE at any time. This term, the Pioneers have swimming on a Tuesday morning.

Mrs Gurney teaches computing on a Thursday morning.

We are rolling with phonics and children will bring a book and their reading record home each day. Please read little and often and write a message in the reading record. All reading is good reading. This is such an exciting time.

Please look out for a text message to let you know when we will go to the forest. We will use our wonderful outdoor space as much as we can and this will not always be on the same day each week. 

Children’s progress and activities are recorded in their own Learning Journeys. These act as a summary of the journey children embark upon during their time in Reception and demonstrate the progress and success that has been achieved, as well as the next steps that may need to be taken.

Let There Be Light

We have read the story of the Creation and retold this with a story map. We have looked at our planet on Google Earth and discussed the colours and what we can see. The clouds are very visible. The white is the ice and the snow and the green is the land. The Pioneers also noticed that some of the land is different colours and knew that this was because some places are hot and dry. The Pioneers then recreated what they saw and talked about what they had painted. They enjoyed mixing and naming the colours too.

A very happy afternoon.

Who Might Live in Our Forest?

The Pioneers looked at our collection of animals and sorted them into groups. We knew that tigers do not live in Sleights! We recognised that some animals are farm animals and some are kept as pets. We made a set of woodland animals and drew these and did a bit of writing too. Bats,foxes and rats.

We researched and found out a bit more about owls and what makes them special. We watched videos of them hunting in the night and talked about how they processed their food.

We read the wonderful Owl Babies and retold this with an annotated storymap. We talked about the colours needed to paint the owl and we were all particularly interested in their eyes. 

The resulting paintings are wonderful.


Scooping Out the Seeds

Mrs McGill cut the tops off the pumpkins and the Pioneers enjoyed using their hands and spoons and tweezers to get to grips with what was inside. Once they removed the seeds, they set them out to dry. The next day each Pioneer made a label and filled a jar with seeds to take home and keep until they can be planted next year. 

We looked at different plants and seeds and recapped the knowledge already gained this year on seeds found in our forest,

Each Pioneer took home a jar full of seeds to plant in the spring.

The Tiny Woman and her Coat

After reading and discussing this beautiful book, we set out to find all the things we needed to retell the story and make the coat for the tiny woman. The book references porcupine spines and we couldn’t find any of those in Sleights but we found some parts of a pine tree that were similar. One Pioneer suggested that the inner part of a feather would look similar.

We discussed lots of things that could be a danger when out foraging, for example,the road,the car park,  slippery surfaces and different types of berry and fungus. The Pioneers are already aware of hazards in the forest such as low hanging branches and thorns and nettles and holly.

We used dough to stick everything together.

The focus and discussion were great.


This week the Pioneers have been reading Pumpkin Soup and discussing the feelings of the characters. We found out that the cat, the duck and the squirrel had different points of view and that this can be difficult.

We have been painting and adding detail to our illustrations. The Pioneers are starting to write some words now to label things. Some Pioneers were spotted writing independently and overheard saying,”I love writing and phonics” Many are realising that they can now put their phonics into action which is totally wonderful.

Pumpkins of different sizes are in the kitchen and have been added to pretend soups. They have been part of story telling. They have been used for subitising and counting and the big pumpkins have been washed and covered in stickers and drawing pins to make designs inspired by Rangoli patterns.

The pumpkins will stay around next week to let us investigate what is inside and to save the seeds for next year.

Sleights Remembers Them

This week, the whole school have reflected on the service personnel who lost their lives and are remembered on our village’s War Memorial Monument. These local heroes have been discussed and their lives researched during the week. The children have each created a symbol of remembrance, including artwork and writing about the local lost soldiers. Today, we came together as a full school and heard the names of these soldiers read out by our children, before beginning our two minutes silence. The hall was still.

The photographs show the work created by the children celebrated around the village. Please do visit the school, community centre, Spar shop, St John’s and the War Memorial to see the work in person. It really is beautiful.

A huge thank you to families who have shared personal memories too. These included finding out about a family connection to one of the individuals on the War Memorial, as well as some very special items from fallen family members.

Celebrating Diwali

It was lovely to welcome almost sixty family members into school today to celebrate the festival of Diwali. The classrooms were a hive of activity, as children and families learned together about the customs, traditions and beliefs of Diwali. The gallery below gives a flavour of some of the activities that families and children enjoyed together.

Harvest Festival 2023

The land has yielded its harvest: God, our God, has blessed us, Psalm 67:6

It was so brilliant to be able to welcome so many families to our service on Wednesday. St John’s was full! A huge thank you for supporting us with your very kind donations too. All donated items will now be shared with the Whitby Food Bank to share around our community.