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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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.

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.

Party and books for term 3

Ms Karen has asked me to post information about the cost of the party and workbooks for term 3.

The party will be held next Friday 23rd June which is the last day of school for the term.  School hours are the same as usual.   Ms Karen is asking you to contribute €6 towards party expenses.  This will include food and an ice cream, some time on a bouncy castle and entertainment in the form of a puppet show and balloon modelling.  You will not need to send in any food in for the children that day.  They will only need their bottle of water to be able to have easy access to water throughout the day.

We have used 4 workbooks during term 3.  The cost of these workbooks is €3.

I will be collecting  both amounts myself and passing them on to Ms Karen.  You can put them in the children’s notebook folder, as usual.

Arm bands

Just a quick note as I have got a few queries on the matter … tomorrow, all the children will be required to wear arm bands even if they can swim without them.  Please send them in ready blown up.

Thank you for your collaboration

Our visit to the dentist

Image result for going to the dentist roderick hunt

Preparations for the visit to the dentist started off the day before the outing.  I read out the book “Going to the Dentist” by Roderick Hunt.  This helped me explain to the children what would be happening at the dentist the following day.

The day started off with a short wait for the coach to arrive and getting stuck in lots of traffic so that by the time we got to the dentist the children were about to burst with anticipation.  Never have I seen such enthusiasm for a visit to the dentist.  The children were divided into two groups and seen by two different dentists and the children in my group were all crowding round the dentist and trying to see in each other’s mouths.  There were some children who were a bit apprehensive but nearly all made it into the dentist’s chair.  Apart from checking the children’s teeth, the dentists also showed the children how to clean their teeth.  They also gave the children a toothbrush and a note giving the outcome of the check up which we will sending home today.

After the visit to the dentist we stopped at the park in Tigne for the children to eat their lunches and play a little bit.  It was quite hot and we kept on giving the children water breaks and “shade breaks” in which we told them to sit in the shade, cool off and shelter from the sun before going off the play a bit more.

I would like to thank you for your patience as you waiting for the children to return to school due to the fact that we were caught up once again in terrible traffic.  Thanks also for your help to ensure that all the children were safely handed over to their respective parents.

Here are some photos:

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Bottles of water

Due to the heat, we are using up our water supplies fast.  Could I ask you all to send in one large bottle of water once again?  Hopefully, this last lot will last us until the end of the year.  Thank you.

Library books

Today I have put the library book that you purchased at the end of last term in your child’s folder.  Could you please cover it and send it back in so that I will have time to read the books with the children in small groups before starting the book rotation on Friday next week?  Please do not read the book with your child as yet as we have not done the background work that they need to read them.

Thank you for your co-operation.

“My Journey in Pre-Junior”

Image result for You are a star students clipartsImage result for You are a star students cliparts

Yesterday you should have found an envelope in your child’s folder containing a envelope with a document called “My Journey in Pre-Junior”.  This document relates the journey of your child so far in Pre-Junior noting his or her strengths and pin pointing one or two areas in which we are trying to help your child to grow.

As I wrote these reports, I became aware of how much each and every child has grown since the beginning of the year.  I hope that you will join me in celebrating their strengths and achievements.

(Yesterday, we put the folder in the bag with the crafts and cushion.  If you did not send a folder in, you will find the envelope in your child’s bag.)