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:


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.


Letter bingo – helps refresh letter recognition and/or identification of the initial sounds in a word.  You can find some of these on

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 –  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

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 –,,  Other sites with good games can be found on the starfall web site and cbeebies

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


People who help us – final post

Last Friday saw the end of our journey through topic work, letters and numbers.  All we have left to do now is complete some workbook pages that were missed due to absence from school, to have some year end closure activities … and to have fun!

Over the past two weeks we continued to work our way through the topic of people who help us and we spoke about doctors and nurses and pilots and other airline crew and, as you know, we visited the dentist ourselves.

The children learn about what a visit to the doctor entails and what the doctor will be doing when they listen with the stethoscopes.  They also saw what happens when someone needs an x ray after an injury.  Once again they could use their stethoscopes and an x ray machine made out of a box to play doctors and nurses.

When talking about pilots, we had a look at supersonic planes which, when they reach a certain speed (faster than the speed of sound), emit a loud bang and then a zzzzzoooom.

To conclude the topic, we had a session in which we tried to remember all the people who help that we spoke about during the last weeks – the children managed to remember them all!! We then practised asking questions that we would need to ask them should we be in need of help e.g. Reporting a lost mobile to the police – Could you please help me find my mobile?  More importantly we thought about what people could ask them in an emergency so that they could see whether they knew the answers.  These are the main examples:

  1. What is your name?
  2. Where do your live?
  3. What is your mum/dad’s phone number? (Safety tip: If your child finds it difficult to remember the number, you can write the number on the inside of their shoes.  Should they get lost, they will be able to ask for help and indicate where the phone number could be found.)
  4. What is your mum/dad’s name? (Safety tip: Should the children get separated from their parents in a crowded place, or e.g. in a supermarket, the best thing would be for them to shout out their parent’s name rather than just mum or dad.  It is easier for an adult to tune out the sound of mum/dad and not respond immediately but he/she will immediately respond if he/she hear his/her own name).

Our literacy links to these topics were x for x ray, z for zzzoom and q for question and with q were completed our letter writing journey for Pre-Junior. We also linked the number 19 to the topic of doctors and stuck 19 windows on a hospital building and the number 20 to a plane and stuck 20 windows on it too.

Stories and clips relating to these topics can be found here: Topic work e learning site


People who help us – wardens

Image result for wardens malta

Last week, we talked about wardens and their roles in the community. We saw how wardens enforce laws by ensuring that  everyone is driving safely, parking properly and seeing that towns and cities are kept clean.  They manage traffic when the roads are busy, or when there is something blocking the road e.g. a big cranes. They are called out when two cars bump into each other.

We listened to a story about Officer Buckle which can be found on the e learning site (  For the purpose of our lesson, we called we changed the officer’s name to Warden Buckle.  The story was good to illustrate that the rules enforced by wardens are there for our own safety and therefore we must obey them at all times, not only not to get a fine but in order to keep ourselves safe.  We concentrated mainly on the rules that affect the children’s lives at the moment – using appropriate car seats and seat belts in cars and the fact that children should never sit in the front passenger seat in a car.  I hope that this topic may help you ensure your children’s compliance in obeying these safety rules.

The last session of this topic, I asked the children to imagine that they were wardens and to suggest a few rules that we should observe for our own safety.  This is what they came up with:

  • Do not hit, punch, pinch or fight with others
  • Obey your mummy
  • Always wear a seat belt
  • Be careful when walking near a road
  • Don’t stand on a swivel chair (this came out of the story); don’t jump on sofas or beds
  • Play gently
  • Look left and before crossing a road and cross at traffic lights if possible
  • Don’t drive fast

The literacy link for this topic was letter w for warden. We also counted up to 18 – we added 18 musical notes to a picture of a warden who had to whistle 18 times because he had seen 18 situations where safety rules were not observed.

Vets in class

It is surprising how much fun children can have with improvised toys.  A soft toy, “bandage” strips cut off an old t shirt, a home made stethoscope, old medicine spoons, cups from the toy kitchen and plastic tweezers.  They kept the children occupied for a long time!

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People who help us (and their vehicles)

Image result for people who help us in our community

These past two weeks we have been working on the topic of People who Help in the community.  So far, we have spoken about policemen, train drivers, lifeguards and vets.  We have red a variety of books about these topics which served both to increase the children’s knowledge of the subjects as well as to enhance their vocabulary.  These books are displayed below:

Image result for policeman smallImage result for i love trains philemon sturgesImage result for terrific trainsImage result for paula the vet

The children are finding this topic very interesting and their imagination is working hard as they start to imagine themselves as adults in the various jobs.  I am trying, as much as possible, to insert information that is relevant to their lives as we discuss each community worker.  So far, they have learnt that a policeman is a trusted adult who they can trust to ask for help (as opposed to someone they should be afraid of) and how to dial 112 in case of an emergency.  They also learnt how to keep safe at the beach and how to know whether a beach is safe to swim in by looking at the colour of the flags put up by the lifeguards.  It would be great if you could help them look out for these flags in summer when going to a beach that is supervised by lifeguards.Image result for lifeguard flags

We linked a letter to each community worker  or the vehicle they use- we had j for jeeps that can be driven by policemen; y for yachts used by lifeguards; u for underground trains drivers and v for vets and their vans.

We also worked our way through the numbers 15 to 17.  Each time I emphasise that the number is made up of a ten and another number eg. 15 is 10 and 5.  When the children count up to the number, they then check themselves by dividing the objects counted into 10 and the other number.  As soon as we reached the number 16, counting objects became more difficult because it takes a lot of concentration for the children to accurately count up to such a high number.  Also, quite a few children miss out either the number 15 and 16.  These counting skills will be further refined in Junior 1 but in the meantime, I encourage you to count up to 20 with your children whenever the opportunity presents itself to you in your every day life – e.g. when going up stairs.

Resources used in class relating to the topic may be found here –

Songs about numbers in their teens, not all of which were used in class but many of which are fun to watch, may be found here

Traffic light bread

As part of our people who help topic, next week we will be talking about wardens.  I thought of organising a simple cooking activity on Thursday where the children will make up their own lunches in the form of traffic light bread.   So, if possible, instead of their normal lunch, could you please choose one of the following options and send in the items required:

Savory option

1 bread roll or bun, cut open and buttered or two slices of bread, buttered (or spread with cream cheese) or even 2 crackers

1 red ingredient – e.g. slice of tomato, piece of red pepper, slice of salami

1 yellow/orange ingredient – e.g. slice of cheese, piece of yellow/orange pepper,  some sweetcorn

1 green ingredient – e.g. olive, piece of lettuce, avocado

Sweet option

1 croissant or sweet bread cut open (spread with butter, if you like)

1 red ingredient – e.g. strawberry, cherry,  slice of red apple

1 yellow/orange ingredient – e.g. slice of banana, slice of peach

1 green ingredient – e.g. grape, slice of kiwi

Please feel free to modify and substitute items as required.  Also, you can work out whatever size of bread you think your child would like to eat and top up with normal lunch items.  The children really enjoy eating food that they themselves have prepared so it is better to send in things that your child likes rather than have a perfect traffic light.  We will be preparing the bread before the main lunch break at 10am.

People who help – vets

As from last week we began talking a out people who help us in the community.  I will be posting details of what we have talked about in the weekend – please excuse the delay but I have been very busy with the sunflower event and preparations for sports day.

Today we were speaking about vets and we have an upcoming event that the children are very excited about and which I thought I’d better inform you about tonight.  We made stethoscopes as our craft and I told the children that on Tuesday they will be allowed to bring a small soft toy animal to school so that they would be able to play vets and examine it using the stethoscope and some other items that I will bring in.  The soft toy needs to be small enough to spend the day in your child’s bag so that the children can bring them out only when we need them – for the vet session.  Also, please ensure that all soft toys are labelled.  A ribbon with you child’s name around their neck would be one easy way of doing it.  Also, for obvious reasons, it is important that the soft toy is an animal.

Sponge yacht craft

Sailboat craft for little ones

Next week we will be making yachts out of sponges.  Could you please send in a kitchen sponge for us to use in the craft?  I tried it out at home with a cheap ordinary sponge like the one below and it sailed perfectly.

Image result for kitchen sponge

We will be doing the craft in the second half of the week, so there is no need to rush out to buy one to hand it in on Monday.

Canals, locks and waterplay

Last Friday, the children had the opportunity to see how a lock works using a toy canal waterway.  I first showed them how the lock worked and then left it to them to experiment with the boat and pumps.  They were also allowed to play with boats and other toys in the waterplay area that they used to use in Flutterby.  Here are some photos:

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