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Welcome to Southtown Primary School Believe, Learn, Achieve.


Year 1 - Penguin Class

Some photos from the first half term in Penguin Class

Welcome to Penguin Class!



You have arrived at the Year 1 Class Page!. Here you will find lots of information about what we will be doing in school this term and things you might need to be reminded about. I will also put some photos of our activities here too.  I hope you have all had a lovely summer break, enjoying some time with your family and friends and are now ready to begin a new year in school.


Our school day begins at 8.45 and finishes at 3.30. Adults please drop your child off at the gate to our classroom where a member of the Penguin Class will be there to welcome your child. It is important that as your child starts in Year 1 we all encourage them to be increasingly independent. That means encouraging them to collect what they need for school and bring it in each day. They will need a NAMED book bag and water bottle and if the weather is sunny a hat. 

Our PE days are Tuesday and Friday. Children must bring in a NAMED PE kit, with suitable footwear. Please make sure that uniform is clearly named too. You'd be amazed at how many clothes are not named and end up in lost property.

Their PE kit will stay on their peg. We will be doing Outdoor learning and I will let you know whether children need wellies when we have a final timetable. 


We have a fantastic selection of books in school. Our library day is a Friday and so children will choose a book to take home to read with you and enjoy. 

What will Year 1 be like? 


Over the years I have heard many people say to their small child, " Year 1 isn't like Reception. It's hard work!"   Let me reassure you, and your child, that each new year group is different regardless of whether you move from Nursery to Reception, Year 5 to Year 6 or Reception to Year 1. This is called transition, and the job of the teachers is to make sure the transition into a new year group is successful and as smooth as possible for your child. The activities and lessons are carefully planned so they are suitable for your child and the learning is enjoyable and relevant.   Our expectations are different, we are looking for children to become more and more independent, mature,  responsible and take pride in their learning. We want to help them to become good learners, sociable and kind. 


Each term looks very different in Year 1. During the first half term we are establishing routines, getting to know one another, re-establishing friendships and focusing on our new timetable. Children will continue to learn through play and creative activities as well as engaging in our more formal activities like handwriting, Guided Reading and daily maths and literacy lessons.  Our maths and literacy lessons are in the morning and then the afternoon we cover other curriculum areas, for example science, topic, art and history / geography. There will also be a lot of singing, stories, games and learning other languages. We will learn some Spanish this term which should be fun! 


1. Phonics

Phonics is a big part of Year 1. Your child will continue to expand on their knowledge of phonics and will probably surprise you with just how quickly they develop their reading. We follow a Reading programme called Read, Write Inc and the children will do a 45 minute lesson each day, just like they did in Reception. These are fun, pacey sessions which involve games and tasks. They will learn tricky words, spelling rules and how to sound out and blend to aid them with their reading and writing. They will be encouraged to ‘have a go’ at spelling when writing independently, by phonetically sounding out words. We will ask them to ‘write it like it sounds’ and, as the weeks go by, they will learn the correct sounds to replace those guesses. Please talk to me if you have any concerns or questions about writing and phonics. It's important we encourage children to have a go, and not worry if they spell something incorrectly. Be careful how much you correct their writing at home as this can affect their willingness to try. Make writing fun, give them lists and notes to write. 

2. Literacy and stories

Your child will be learning through a topic this year, which makes lessons relevant and exciting. They will learn English through all sorts of wonderful stories and they will also act out stories that may be familiar to you at home. They will plan and write their own wonderful creative stories, design posters and leaflets. They will learn to write in sentences and use exciting language — all while improving their handwriting. 


3. Maths skills

Maths lessons this year are planned to be fun, with plenty of hands-on activities. Your Year 1 child will count with objects and work in groups to explore shapes and pattern. Now that they are using numbers over 20, they will learn to use a 100 square to help with their adding and subtracting. Number bonds will also be reinforced.

They will learn to count forwards, backwards, in 2s, 5s, 10s, 20s, and they will double and halve. They will do maths inside and outdoors and, because we work in a very cross-curricular way in Year 1, he/she will be talking about maths during other subjects, for example; while measuring ingredients for cooking (DT), drawing tables to record experiments in science or drawing maps in geography.

4. Each term has a different focus, we used to call these Topics, but we would prefer to use the name of the curriculum subject we are focusing on. We start the half term with a question; 

Autumn term 1- Look! What can you see ?  Main Subject Area: Geography. A closer look into our school environment

Autumn term 2- Could you be as brave as Grace Darling? Main subject area ; History Why was Grace important? Who are people who help us,  for example, RNLI


Spring term 1- How does your garden grow ? Main Subject Areas: Science Identifying and naming plants and trees

Spring term 2- Which UK city would you like to live in? Main Subject Areas: Geography  UK capital cities. Comparing locations. 

Summer term 1-   How has transport changed over the years and why?    Main Subject Areas: History 

Summer term 2-What are houses made from?  Main Subject Areas: Science Exploring materials and their properties.

We also develop their social skills and empathy for each other during RE and PSHE. Year 1 is an important year for your child’s increasing independence. 


How can I help my child? 

In order to learn well, children need a good routine. You can help them by establishing this at home. Things like sleep, rest and play and a good diet all help your child in school.  They will be bringing home their Read Write Inc book with them each day. Little and often is always better when doing school work at home. Be sensitive if your child is tired, especially during the first few weeks after the holidays. The new school day can be very tiring for everyone!   Also, the library book they bring home on a Friday is one of their choice. They are not expected to read this, it's for you to enjoy and share together. These are precious times for you to engage with your child's learning and encourage a love of literacy and a positive attitude towards learning. 

Make sure at the same time you are taking time for yourself too. Parenting is rewarding, but challenging, and so don't neglect your own wellbeing as you seek to care for your child and support their education. 


If there is anything you want to talk about then please do arrange a time to talk to me. It is not always easy, or appropriate,  to engage in conversation at the school gate, but I am always willing to talk to you about any issue, big or small that may concern you. I can always ring you after school, just let me or a member of Penguin Class know.


Keep your eye on Class Dojo too as I will post pictures and updates on there regularly. 

Enjoy the term! 


Miss Jo Birks