The summer holidays

We have had a busy school year and the children have learnt lots of things, filled in workbooks and essentially learnt to write.  Now here comes summer – a time to rest and relax in order to refresh ourselves for next year.  During parents’ day, a number of parents asked me to suggest activities to be done with their children during the summer months.     So, how can you ensure that your children start off the next scholastic year ready to tackle their new challenges?

You can do this by keeping alive all the things that we have learnt this year. I am not a great believer in giving the children lots of workbook tasks over the summer because I believe that the children need time and experimentation to help them absorb all we did during the school year. You can help them by showing them how to use the knowledge they gained in fun activities in their everyday life.  Here are some ideas how you can do this:

Numeracy

Playing board games such as snakes and ladders

– using one dice  – helps count up to six and co-ordinate pointing to object and counting

– using two dies – helps with all the above up to 12 and to practice addition

Hop scotch – helps in number recognition

Any games where you have to add the total gathered at the end – such as pairs, snap, marbles, skittles/bowling  – can help counting up to even larger number (obviously you have to allow you child to count his/her total with your support)

Dominos can help in counting and matching

You can also encourage your child to count whenever the opportunity arises – counting out sweets, fruit, stairs, slices of bread or anything else you are using as you go about your daily life.  A trip to the supermarket or greengrocer will present you with multiple opportunities to count.

Literacy

Letter bingo – helps refresh letter recognition and/or identification of the initial sounds in a word.  You can find some of these on http://www.sparklebox.co.uk/literacy/alphabet/bingo.html

I spy (my favourite!! especially on long car trips)

You can encourage to the children to look at labels and signs e.g. “that is apple flavoured juice– look the word starts with a”,  using signs at supermarkets showing where items are – let’s find the biscuit aisle. What sound does biscuit start with? Then we need to find a sign with a word starting with b.

Image result for emergent writingAsk them to write their names and whatever else they want to write on their drawings, birthday cards, in the sand or anything else. They can also add a caption to their drawings.  This will not look perfect but is a space for the children to experiment.  It helps the children understand that writing is a method of communcation, start using is as such and in the process start to build their confidence as a reader and writer.  It is important that you praise all efforts.

Lastly, read , read, read and then read some more.  Enrol in a library and take your child to choose some books (their choice is important).  If your child is a memeber of the Malta Libraries, you can also borrow books to read online – https://maltalibraries.overdrive.com/collection/37625?subject=43&subject=112&sortBy=mostpopular-site.  Read fun books to your children, encourage your child to read  books with simple words and read books, newspapers or magazines yourselves since your children will aspire to do what you yourselves do.  Whether you read to your child or your child reads to you or you go half and half, where you read and allow your child to pitch in when he/she knows a word, it is important that reading is fun and enjoyable.  If reading time becomes a struggle, you will need to take a step back and find a different way of going about it.

What books are suitable for your child to read to you?  At school we chose books that mostly consisted of words that could be blended.  Most phonics series will be good but they all contain “tricky words” (words the children cannot spell out using sound) to a greater or lesser extent.  It is a question of trying books out and seeing what words for your child and yourself. My personal favourites still remain the songbirds which we used at school and the Oxford reading tree series pictured below.

Image result for songbirds purple books Image result for oxford reading tree book set funny races

Image result for usborne phonics readersYou can also find suitable e books on the Oxford Owl web site https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/reading-owl/find-a-book/library-page?view=image&query=&type=book&age_group=Age+4-5&book=&book_type=&series=#

A good series of books to use to share the reading with your child are the books pictured to the left.  The parents read through the text and the child decodes the rhyming words.

Don’t forget the numerous web sites with educational games.  You will find games tailored to what your child has been learning on the school e learning sites – http://prejuniorareading.wikispaces.com/, http://numeracywikispace.wikispaces.com/, https://stcathsprejuniortopicwork.wikispaces.com/?responseToken=014baf46bbe3d8fae7fbe2b67830c902a.  Other sites with good games can be found on the starfall web site http://www.starfall.com/ and cbeebies http://www.cbeebies.com/global/

Episodes of Numberjacks, Umizoomi and Alphablocks can all be found on you tube and are both educational and fun.

Please feel free to suggest any other ideas you have and any educational games you enjoy playing with your children.

Most of all, have a great time this summer and enjoy yourselves in the company of your fantastic children!

I am still contactable over the summer on this blog or my usual e mail stephanie.cordina@school.stcatherines.eu

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Familiarisation visit to Junior 1

Another post found in the drafts folder …

On Wednesday 15th June, the children had a guided tour around a Junior 1 classroom so that when they return to school after the summer holidays, they will have an idea what to expect.   Our class visited Ms Steffie’s class.  As I explained to the children, and as Ms Steffie told them herself, this does not mean that  she will be their teacher next year.  We told the  children that the two Junior 1 classes are the same and that the teachers work together to provide the children with similar activities and experiences.

Here are some photos

Parents’ day

I look forward to meeting all parents tomorrow to discuss your child’s progress.  I have been allotted the Peter Pan room in which to conduct the sessions with you.  Ten minutes are allocated to each set of parents and I ask you to kindly help me keep to the this limit so that other parents will not need to wait longer than necessary.

There are a few parents who have not returned library books and other who have not paid the amounts due for the party and for the third term workbooks. Could you please ensure that all library books are returned and amounts settled by tomorrow?  Thank you.

Library books

Some people still need to return the library books handed out last week.  Could you please return them by Friday at the latest.  Please return just the book – you can keep the folder, library card and copybook at home.

Tomorrow’s big day :) :)

I look forward to meeting everybody at the graduation tomorrow.  The children seem prepared and ready to move on to Junior 1 and in tomorrow’s ceremony will celebrate all their achievements during the year.

Just  a few notices (as usual!!)

  1. The graduation ceremony starts at 8.30am.  Parents are requested to be seated by 8.20am.
  2. The children are to be in class by 8am sharp, as usual.  Parents can leave the items required for swimming in class.
  3. Children are to come to school with their swim suits underneath their uniform.
  4. There will be time for the children to have  a quick breakfast snack before coming down for the graduation ceremony.
  5. After the graduation ceremony, we will return to class until our coach collects us at 10am.  The children can snack again while waiting if they want to do so.  We would like to request your help and ask you to please help up by carrying up 1 chair with you from the hall to the class (one per child) as all our classroom chairs will be down in the hall.
  6. For the swimming activity, you need to bring with you – 

    a towel, beach shoes, a swimming cap (if you have one), underwear, armbands (NOT inflated as these will only be required if the instructor decides they are necessary) and the toiletries required to take a shower afterwards.

Year end fun and water games

Are your children sleeping?  They were exhausted by the end of the day.  I was too but we had such good fun together.  The children arrived at school, all excited and happy, constantly asking me when it was going to be time to go out and swim.  They spent the first half of the day playing in class, eating and getting ready to go out.

Once outdoors, the children spent an hour playing water games, rested a bit, then played in the pool and finally had an ice cream. I am attaching some photos below.  I’m afraid that there are no photos of the children in the pool as I was in the pool with them enjoying myself playing with them in a relaxed atmosphere.

I hope that I managed to sent back all the items that you sent in (apart from the couple of items that I am already aware of!!).  Please check your bags and let me know if anything is missing.  Should you have something that belongs to someone else, please return it tomorrow.  We tried very hard to keep everything organised but there were so many bags and items in class and so many things that we had to take out with us, that it is possible that some things got misplaced.