St Michael'sChurch of England Primary School

Sandhurst, Berkshire

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Welcome to Ducklings

The Ducklings is our Reception EYFS class for children who will have their 5th birthday in the academic year between 1st September and the 31st August. All the children start school together in September, with an option to go home at lunchtime until Christmas. By January all pupils are full time. There is a maximum of 30 children in the class with 3 members of staff every morning and 2 every afternoon.


The Ducklings have a rich and exciting curriculum with weekly visits to the local woodlands for an entire morning, or to a local care home to learn alongside their 'older friends' for an afternoon. They go on frequent trips further afield, visiting farms, museums, churches, theatres, parks and finally the seaside for a family day out at the end of the year. We are firmly of the belief that learning does not have to take place in the classroom and we embrace the outdoor life, whatever the weather!


The Ducklings are very much a part of the wider school, and the whole school trip in their second or third week of school gives them and their families a sense of being a real member of the St. Michael's community. We welcome parents and grandparents into the Ducklings classroom at all times and on our many trips. 


The Ducklings receive a letter from a buddy in Year 5 before they start school and their buddy greets them and plays with them on their summer afternoon visit to the school. The relationship  continues to flourish as they meet the again on the first day of school and know that they always have someone to look out for them in the playground.


Ducklings is an exciting but safe place for the children and their parents to flourish and form friendships to last a lifetime. Our children make excellent academic progress and most of all enjoy their childhood.


Ducklings 2020-21

Class Teachers: Mrs Gill Evans

Support Staff: Mrs Erica Malone  Mrs Mandy Bearman Mrs Philippa Hall

PE Teacher: Mr Wayne Boardman

Volunteer Helper: Mrs Dorothy Hill


 Ducklings Term 1 September 2020

Information for Parents


What strange times we are in. I am so sorry not to have been able to have a meeting with you all to begin the term, but I do hope to get to know you at the door in the next few weeks. Please do not hesitate to approach any of the Ducklings staff if you have any worries or queries or ring the office for a phone appointment if you need to speak to me in more depth.


The main thrust of our work in Ducklings this term will be to learn to recognise, write and use numbers and letters independently. By the end of this half-term all children should know all their letter sounds and be blending them to make simple words to read and spell. Some children will go way beyond this and will be writing several sentences before Christmas. Almost all children should be reading books before Christmas.


You can best support your child by practising the letter formation & sound every night in the phonics book and by recapping sounds learned previously. Put magnetic lower case letters on the fridge each day as we learn them at school, and then use these to build words. The letters are introduced in this order because they are the most frequently used and can therefore build most words.

eg:  s a t i p can make many words… tap pat sat sit pit tip it is sap sip, and each new letter introduced can create many more words.


Progression in learning to read;

  1. Learn letter sounds
  2. Learn to read the words on the yellow word sheet (given when children know sounds)
  3. Progress to Green phonetic reading books
  4. Learn to read the 45 most frequently used English words, including tricky irregular words.
  5. Progress through the levels of our reading scheme, with assessments at least every half term.

Please do phonics and reading homework with your child for an absolute maximum of 15 minutes at a time, when your child is not tired. Each year I see the gap widen between the children who do this homework and those who do not, I cannot emphasise the importance enough. Never replace the bedtime story you read to your child by having your child read school reading books to you.


By the end of this term in Numeracy all children should be able to:

  • Count out objects accurately, touching each one
  • Recognise and write numbers to at least 10 and many well beyond
  • Give a number 1 more or 1 less than a given number
  • Play number games

Some children will go well beyond this. You can help your child by playing number games such as Ludo, Frustration or Bingo at home. If you have had a child in Ducklings previously, please be aware that the revised curriculum now recommends spending longer on the lower numbers so that children have a more thorough and deeper understanding of how numbers work.


Water Bottles Please send in the school water bottle filled with water every day so that your child has easy access to water. We will always refill them if they drink all of their water. We know from experience that children who do not drink water at home will drink it in school with their friends. It really helps if you can find a way to make your child’s bottle easily recognisable from the other 29! Please do not put them in the blue bags as they leak.


PE will takes place on Wednesday with Mr Boardman and on Fridays. On these 2 days your child can come to school wearing school PE kit and does not need to bring/wear uniform. This is different from our normal changing in class and is as a result of our Covid precautions. The children will go out to play and out to PE whatever the weather so it might be handy to leave a small drawstring bag on their peg with spare dry socks and pants and a cheap pair of navy tracksuit trousers. An appropriate coat should always be in school and it will get dirty – whether in our garden round the mud kitchen, or in the woods or field. You may also like to leave a pair of wellies.   I am afraid that in Ducklings most clothes get dirty and shoes do get scuffed! Please make sure all clothes you send in are clearly named.


School Lunch The children can select their lunch choice at home or at school every morning. It is well worth giving school lunches a try as they are free and they do seem to help expand the children’s repertoire of food choices. Peer pressure is a marvellous thing! This term we will all eat as a class, with Ducklings staff sitting with the children.


Snacks You do not need to send in a snack. The children have plenty of free fruit and milk available to them every day. Unfortunately free milk is now stopped on the day a child turns 5. If you wish to, you can pay after their 5th birthday if they would still like to have milk.


Reward system – the children enjoy plentiful praise for their efforts and we recognise individual achievements and make a point of praising children to other adults and in front of the class. In addition we use stickers within the class for exceptional achievements and also let Mr Bevan see their wonderful work, for which the children receive Head teacher’s stickers.


Home time - Please remember we can only allow children to go home with other adults if we have your specific permission. You can tell us in the morning or ring the office to let us know.


We go to Ambarrow Woods most Friday mornings – a list of dates is below. Parent (or grandparent) helpers are particularly welcome on woods days but under current circumstances we need to establish regular helpers to keep our 'bubble' as secure as possible. Please let us know if there are several dates you can accompany us. Please also speak to the office about completing the DBS process. We would ask that no photos of school events be put on Facebook, as some parents do not give permission for this.


These walks cannot take place without sufficient regular helpers.  If we cannot make it to the woods we will go to the field instead as this does not require extra support.

So Sorry! I was using a 2021 calendar so the original woods walk dates were Thursdays and they should have been Fridays. Correct dates are now below.

Also there is no Inset day before half term. Apologies!

Key Dates

18th September         WOODS WALK

25th September      WOODS WALK

2nd October              WOODS WALK

9th October              WOODS WALK        

16th October             WOODS WALK



We are so sorry that circumstances have meant that our WOW trip has not been able to take place and that buddies could not greet your child this term. We will return to normal as soon as it is safe to do so.

I very much look forward to working with you and your child in the year ahead in Ducklings.


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