The children have settled into Curlew life very well and have been enjoying our Castles topic. Our lead question is ‘Is Pendennis Castle unique?’ and so far we have explored how castles are similar and different, located Pendennis on a map, explained why castles were of great importance and sequenced events in our local castle’s history. A real highlight of this term will be our trip to the castle itself, which you can read all about in our next newsletter. Our Talk for Writing unit, ‘Fairy Tales’ proved to be popular and we had fun comparing different versions of Rapunzel. We created innovations based on our Rapunzel model text and now have a strong awareness of how to structure a fairy tale. Woven through our model text were some less familiar terms such as ‘wandered,’ ‘lured’ and ‘unsuspecting.’ The children explored the meaning of these words and can now seek opportunities to use them in their own writing. We look forward to our ‘How to Build a Castle’ instructions unit next. Our Science learning is all about everyday materials. We named, identified and described materials before debating their suitability for certain roles. Would paper be a suitable material to build a wall from? How useful would a glass jumper be? Vocabulary such as ‘transparent’, ‘translucent’ and ‘opaque’ were unfamiliar to the children at the start of the term, but by October half term, they should be able to use them with confidence. As the school’s Maths lead, I’m very excited to tell you all about a new programme that Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children are in involved in. Mastering Number is the Maths equivalent of phonics in English. Basically, the aim is to secure firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all. The children each have access to a rekenrek, a Dutch mini abacus comprising of 20 beads, as well as visual representations to help them gain a strong sense of number. We want them to develop fluency and flexibility, so that they know facts by heart and make connections. That way, when they enter Key Stage 2, they will know that 5 + 7 = 12, they will know that 20 -15 = 5 etc, so that they can spend time focusing on the higher order skills. ‘No more counting in ones!’ I have already seen great developments amongst the Curlews since starting the programme. As well as our daily 10–15-minute Mastering Number session, we have been focusing on place value, to help children understand what each digit represents.