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 dance on a Tuesday afternoon. 

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.

From Tiny Acorns…

Way back in the Autumn, the Pioneers went to the forest and collected acorns and got to find out about our oak tree. We went through the process of selecting the best acorns and set them aside to rest over the winter in their little pots. Now that spring has sprung we have the most beautiful tiny oak trees. We took them to the forest to compare them to the big tree, spotting that the trunk is hard and lumpy and the branches and roots were much bigger too. we did a bit of bark rubbing which was very popular.

We planted the sunflower seeds that we harvested from last year’s sunflowers and searched in the soil to see what roots looked like.

We found plenty of juicy worms and a random head of garlic! Mrs McGill even managed to put up a birdbox.

When we returned to the classroom, we wrote about our adventures using the new vocabulary-bark, trunk, roots and wild garlic. We experimented with pastel pencils for our observational drawing and the results were wonderful and varied.

So much learning.

Mapping Our Route

Next week we head to York on a very exciting trip. We took a look at an Ordnance Survey map to check out our route.  We took a look at Google Earth and found our location. We compared this with the map in front of us. The Pioneers noticed red lines and orange lines and questioned what these were. They were able to identify the land and the sea and areas of forest. The were able to identify beaches and rocky bits too. They were also using their phonics to read some of the place names finding York and Pickering and recognising Sleights. From previous work they spotted that this map has a grid too.

We are beyond excited about going on the bus to see the trains!

Making Maps- Sleights and Fair Verona!

Inspired by our story telling and reading, we have made some more maps. We watched a wonderful version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and enjoyed spotting Mr Tumble! We got on our feet and acted out some of the scenes, shouting angrily at the opposing family. We also used Gnomio and Juliet to help us get our heads around the issues. The Pioneers were able to articulate the difficulties the two friends faced. We built Verona from loose parts and an impromptu puppet show took place.

With the story of Romeo and Juliet at the centre, we mapped out what we thought their city of Verona would be like. We used our bard book as inspiration and knew that the map needed to show Romeo’s house, Juliet’s house, the market place where they quarrel and the streets and bridges of the city. Because we had acted it all out, the drawing was the easy part. The Pioneers looked at a selection of other maps and spotted the grid and the compass. 

Our next job was to look at maps of a real place we knew well-our school grounds. We studied plans and went for a walk and the Pioneers were incredibly skilled at using the map and working out what was where asking,”Which way up does it go?” On return to the classroom, we drew our own maps with grids and added a compass rose.  The Pioneers love to write so many of them added labels too. 

Wonderful learning.

Dice and Doubles and Dominoes

Maths this week has been very active using the big ten frames and dominoes and dice. We have been exploring Odd and Even and then doubles. 
The Pioneers are really great at organising their resources and recording their results. They are also keen to talk about how they know, which is wonderful. We discussed taking turns and being fair. Sometimes we win and sometimes we don’t. We discussed how to react when things don’t go our way and that perseverance is important. ( I did not win at dominoes and we did a bit of role play to model how not to respond!)


Representing and Exploring

The Pioneers are comfortable exploring number in lots of ways. They like to use counters and ten frames, Stickies, Moshi Monsters, buttons and anything they can find to count and compare. They are adding written calculations to their repetoire and love to write the longest calculations possible to represent the composition of a number. The focus this week has been wonderful with excellent questioning and explanations when asked, “How do you know?”


Who’s That Trip-Trapping Over My Bridge?

The elves have gone and left us with trolls and goats.We started the term by retelling the story of the Three Goats and the Troll. The Pioneers have costumes and materials and figures to retell the story. We then discuss the concept of a map and created on for the setting of the story. This allowed us to look down from above and draw a 2D representation of our 3D world. The focus was incredible and every setting contained the key elements of lush, green grass, short grass and a bridge and a river with rocks.

We then went to the forest in the wind and the rain to make Stick Trolls to retell the story in another way. This was wonderful and the writing on our return was just amazing. 

Go Pioneers!

Launch the Rocket

The Pioneers had another letter and a package delivered this week. The package contained a water powered rocket to blast off on the field. The Pioneers read the instructions, created labelled diagrams and went out into the field. The launch needed the right weather conditions so we checked the weather everyday until the wind dropped and the rain stopped. The sun shone and after a few damp attempts the rocket took flight. We built our own small rockets and used all the new skills to join the parts. The Pioneers really enjoyed writing about the rocket launch taking great care and spending a lot of time on their work.

Letters from The Elves

This week the elves have been sending their messages on the typewriter. We discussed that this is a bit like our computer keyboard but you cannot change the font or the colour of the text. It is also a bit more difficult when you make a mistake. We have been using the words past and present to talk about some of the items in the Cobbler’s Shop.

The elves asked for a house and so we gathered large loose parts and got going with the building. The Pioneers did well to share the space and the resources and the results are fabulous. New vocabulary was picked up along the way to describe the materials used.

The classroom was full of wonderful, purposeful investigation. You could see plans being made and reviewed and tested out. 

Requests From Our Elves

The Elves have left us a note every day to ask for help. They needed a bed and a chair so we made plans and build them joining wood and card. They spilt paint and left red footprints so we had to clear that up and do some pictures. They asked for a “light in the night” so we got out some torches. We also talked about life in the past without electricity and how the Cobbler’s Shop may only have had a candle. We lit the candle and talked about the dangers and how difficult this would be. They also went outside and got stuck in the snow, in the igloo. We had to dig them out. All of the letters they wrote contained some of our current digraphs which was very useful! Great focus and lots of writing.