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Foundation Class of 2020

Was your child born between 1st September 2016 and 31st August 2017?

If so you will be soon be applying for your child to start school.

Due to the Covid restrictions, we are unable to hold our open mornings so we would like
to invite prospectus parents to attend a virtual Q&A session, where you will have the
opportunity to meet members of staff and gain an insight into what Willowbank school
can offer your child and also to ask any questions.


Download the prospective parents 2021 document to find out more

Space Tortoise needed our help!

During our exploration of the book Space Tortoise, we hypothesised the type of materials that would be most suitable for making a hot air balloon. Space Tortoise found materials to construct his balloon so we found a variety of objects of different sizes and materials to test.

We shared our ideas as well as responding to the ideas of others . . 

How can we keep different materials floating in the air without touching them?

Does the shape/texture/size of the objects used in our experiment affect how well they float? 



Having fun whilst experimenting!

Destination Outer Space - WOW Day!

Wow Days at Willowbank

We are constantly striving to create ‘irresistible learning’ opportunities and experiences which create the WOW factor – exciting, inspiring and challenging – so the children develop a joy of learning and can’t wait to learn more. When a child is enjoying their learning, they learn best!


What is a WOW Day?

At the start of each curriculum sequence, classes hold a WOW Day. These special days captivate the children, bring learning to life and create an atmosphere of fun, enjoyment and excitement about the learning to come. On a WOW Day, children will participate in a range of exciting activities.


This week, Tadpoles and Caterpillars had an exciting Tuesday participating in their ‘Destination Outer Space’ Wow Day. As well as preparing for their launch and travelling past planets and throughout the universe, children composed a musical score and created their own songs to celebrate arriving on different planets, Children also ‘discovered’ aliens measuring them and noticing similarities and differences between the footprints that they left and created un-poppable bubbles.

Radio 2 Foundation Stage - Space Day Shout out

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If you happened to be listening to Radio 2 this morning, you will have heard that Mrs Kyte, Mrs Davies and our FS unit had their wow space day mentioned! if you did miss it, or you'd like to hear it again, here it is!

Destination Outer Space!

As we complete our curriculum sequence ‘Amazing Animals’ and begin ‘Destination Outer Space’, we were pleased to be visited by Sally (Miss Mogford’s tortoise). The visit was a great opportunity for children to apply their knowledge of animals, practise their questioning skills, write for purpose as well as a fabulous introduction to our shared text ‘Space Tortoise’.

Summer Term


We shared ‘Dougal’s Deep Sea Diary’ with children and introduced them to the idea of a story map and Talk for Writing approach to help them understand and recall the sequence of events. The story provided a great opportunity to practise the days of the week and vocabulary linked to time. Caterpillars and Tadpoles had a fabulous time in their classes using a similar story structure to create their own narratives. Tadpoles were inspired by their knowledge of stories that they have read whilst Caterpillars used their own experiences as well as family and friends. Within the Story Square in our outside area, children shared and performed their stories. We are excited to hear and watch other stories children create as we begin our summer term curriculum sequence of ‘Destination Outer Space!’


Story Square

Reading with your child

Reading is vitally important in EYFS and we have seen fantastic progress in so many of our children, which we hope will continue this term. Children develop more in the first 5 years of their life than at any other time and during these years’ your child starts building the blocks for the rest of their life. Reading is just one of these blocks. However, it is not simply just ‘reading’- it is so much more. It is spelling, listening, writing, literacy, social skills, imagination, drama…


Parents are the most important educators in a child’s life. Reading with your child and reading for pleasure from an early age really is probably one of the best gifts you can give to your child to help their future and their development.

Farmer Andy's visit!

Before our Easter break we welcomed Farmer Andy to our classroom (virtually). He was able to extend the children's knowledge that they had acquired from our Amazing Animals sequence of learning by answering questions that they had prepared. It was a great opportunity to develop their communication and language skills as well as their knowledge and understanding of the world. We also met Pink Nose and Friend, Farmer Andy's friendly cows when he took us on a virtual tour of his dairy farm.

Spring 2

We have had a fabulous half term and really enjoyed having Tadpoles and Caterpillars together back in school. Since their return, we have encouraged children to participate in a variety of activities that will develop their communication and language skills within a variety of curriculum areas. Within Mathematics, children have been estimating and representing number. Tadpoles and Caterpillars have been enjoying our curriculum sequence of ‘Amazing Animals’. We have explored similarities and differences between a variety of animals and learnt about animals that live in different habitats. We have focused upon sea lions, camels and polar bears. Children were excited to participate in our ‘blubber glove experiment’ to help them understand what blubber is and how it keeps animals warm. Children have been using our opportunities within English to learn about non-fiction books and others sources of information to answer their questions and learn more about animals of interest.


We are story creators.

We are collaborative learners.

Developing our gross and fine motor skills because we are writers.

We are mathematicians

Spring 1

Children have enjoyed their daily live sessions where they were able to continue their Phonics and Maths learning with their teachers. Mrs Davies and Mrs Kyte were pleased to receive photographs of the children's learning. Each week the children's participation in their home learning tasks as well as the learning at school were celebrated by our Friday assemblies.


Spring Term 2021

Mrs Davies and Mrs Kyte are very excited about our Spring Term curriculum sequence: Amazing Animals (including humans). During our learning, we will be focusing on different aspects within the curriculum area of Understanding the World. This includes: 

Understanding the World: World

• Looks closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change .

Understanding the World: People and Communities

●Knows some of the things that make them unique, and can talk about some of the similarities and differences in relation to friends or family. (40-60)

● Enjoys joining in with family customs and routines (40-60)


We will also we teaching and encouraging exploration of the technology aspect of Understanding the World to understand that information can be retrieved from computers and to learn about how to be safe online.

Ready for our Spring Term learning!

December Activities in EYFS

Oh no, we have cheeky elves!

We discovered that both Caterpillar and Tadpole classes had been visited by naughty elves throughout December. Every morning they would appear in different places, often finding a variety of places and objects to climb and hang from. Our very observant children arrived to school each morning eagerly trying to spot the mischief that the elves were up to.


Children made biscuits and explored how the texture of butter could be changed into being soft and creamy. They were encouraged to ask questions. After adding additional ingredients, children explored how flour made the texture change again. They were supported to suggest how sticky dough could be improved by adding more flour.


Children were asked to draw instructions for the next baking group to show them how to make the biscuits. They then shared their ideas. The children particularly enjoyed tasting their biscuits whilst watching a fabulous virtual pantomime. This was a wonderful experience for the children as many had never watched a theatre performance before.


Week Beginning 30th November

This week our Parent Workshop focused :

  • Handwriting and prewriting skills

  • The development of gross and fine motor skills.

  • Activities that support the development of gross and fine motor skills.


Below is the information shared during our workshop.

Parent Virtual Workshops 

Mrs Kyte and Mrs Davies will be running virtual parent workshops. These workshops will provide parents and carers with information, guidance and ideas on how to support their children at home. In response to our survey and parent consultation conversations, this half term our virtual parent workshops will focus on Phonics and the prewriting skills connected to handwriting. We have designed these workshops so that parents and carers can participate in activities that are age appropriate to their child and stage in their learning.


They will be run on a Zoom platform and Mrs Ingram will send invites the day before. For those unable to attend we will be placing information relating to each workshop on our class page.

Information from Phonics (1) workshop

Information from Phonics (2) Workshop

Week Beginning 16th November

During your child’s time at preschool and in the first year of primary school, they will be taught the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes. Part of the EYFS curriculum is known as the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’. This aspect focuses on how your child is learning and their approach to learning, rather than what they are learning.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning are divided into three areas:

Playing and Exploring

Active Learning

Creating and Thinking Critically

At Willowbank we introduce the three areas of the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ through different animals.   Children are encouraged to adopt the characteristics of each animal to help them develop as learners. For example, children who benefit from encouragement to explore new activities during continuous provision are encouraged to be a ‘Choosing Chimp’. Children who may find it challenging when things do not go the way they intended or planned are encouraged to be a ‘Keep Trying Tortoise’. This approach allows children to have the opportunity to talk about their learning and identify their own characteristics of learning.

We model to children how they can be a ‘Keep Trying Tortoise’ or a ‘Choosing Chimp’ through our learning opportunities and celebrate when children demonstrate these skills as learners. Children receive a sticker which they wear so that other members of our school community can ask them, “how have you shown that you are a Keep Trying Tortoise?” The child wears the sticker home and this is an opportunity for children to share their successes further.

Week Beginning 9th November

This week your child received a Bug Club login. This login enables you to access resources that your child’s class teacher has allocated them. Your child will continue to take home their weekly ‘book of choice’ as an opportunity to develop the skills of speaking, listening, understanding, vocabulary development and storytelling.

Your child will begin to be allocated Bug Club books when they have demonstrated the following skills during our activities and teaching sessions in school.

  • Links sounds to letters.
  • Independently hears and says the initial sound in words
  • Have begun to segment the sounds in simple words and blend them together.

Being able to decode words in order to blend and read is one skill involved in reading and so we begin allocating books when your child’s phonics skills enable them to appreciate the variety of other skills associated with reading.

Our parent workshop on Monday 23rd November will explore the use of Bug Club as well as other resources you can use to support your child at home.  To help you to familiarise yourself with this resource and have fun exploring it together, we have attached some documents below and allocated some resources to your child’s Bug Club account.



Parent Workshops

During our phonic sessions, children have continued to develop and practise the skills of segmenting and blending phonemes taught so far as well as being introduced to:

c – a picture of a carrot. Pretend to hold a carrot with both hands and say the sound as you pretend to gnaw at the carrot (left to right)

k- a picture of a key. Hold a key in your hand. Move it towards the ‘lock’ away from you and turn the key.

e- a picture of an elephant. Use an arm as a trunk and wave the trunk around.

u- a picture of an umbrella. Pretend to be putting up at umbrella with both hands in front of you. Then raise above head.

Week Beginning 2nd November

As part of their learning opportunities, children used rhythm cards with pictures of different animals to explore tapping out simple repeated rhythms.  They were encouraged to say the animal names and then clap the word, focusing on syllables. They really enjoyed performing on our stage.

Children explored representing numbers by creating their own natural item number staircases using items that they found in our outdoor area.  After listening to the story ‘Leaf Man’, children used leaves  and conkers to create their own piece of art.

During our phonics learning, children have been introduced to the phonemes represented by the letters:

g – a picture of a goat. Pretend that you are a goat and pull the hair on the bottom of your chin. Place your hand each side of your head to represent horns.

o- a picture of an orange. As you make the sound with your mouth open, draw a circle shape with your finger in front of your mouth (the shape of a orange).

n – a picture of a nose. Touch the end of your nose with your finger.

d – a picture of a dinosaur. Stamp like a dinosaur.

Week Beginning 19th October 


Following feedback from our Autumn Term Parent Consultations, we will continue to post the letter and sound (phoneme) correspondences that we have been teaching each week so that you can support your child at home. This week, children have been beginning to blend the phonemes that they have been taught so far to read simple words (pat, sat, pip). They have also been introduced to:


m – a picture of a mouse. Start with fingers either side of your nose. Pull your hands out either side, to mimic whiskers /m/.

i - a picture of an ink pot. Pinch 2 fingers together as though you are pinching a nib of a pen – ready to write /i/.


At Willowbank, we appreciate and recognise the vital role that parents play in supporting their children’s learning. In previous years, we have provided parents with the opportunity to participate in regular workshops. These workshops guided parents and carers with ideas on how to support their children at home through fun games and activities that make learning in Maths, Reading and Phonics both exciting and engaging. This year we will be adapting this practice by posting clips onto our Facebook page and then following these up with virtual question and answer sessions. Below is a link to a questionnaire which will help us to determine the focus of these sessions. We will then send an email of when clips will be posted on Facebook and question and answer opportunities. Please share your thoughts using the questionnaire before 7th November 2020.



We hope you have a wonderful half term and look forward to seeing you all next week. Take a look at our continuous provision activities ready for after half term.

Week Beginning 12th October 

Wow! We have had a really exciting week as we have moved from distinguishing between different environmental and instrumental sounds and sequencing them to learning about letters. We have explored s, a, t, p and learnt the picture and action cues that will help us to remember these letters and the phonemes that they make.


s – a picture of some socks and say the sound as we put on and pull up our socks /s/

a - a picture of an apple and say the sound as we pretend to hold one in a hand and begin to munch /a/

t -a picture of a tomato and say the sound as we roll it between the palms of our hands /t/

p - a picture of a parcel and say the sound as we pretend to pass it to a friend /p/


We have jumped and bounced to these phonemes written in chalk on the playground and sorted pictures and objects by discovering which of our focus sounds they start with.


Children have been using their own marks and symbols to share their ideas and thoughts about what makes Earth wonderful (linked to our learning through the text, ‘Here We Are’ by Oliver Jeffers). These will be displayed in our classroom and will enable children to share their progress and successes when writing throughout the year.


The document below shares the other actions and pictures that will be used to help children develop their letter and sound (phoneme) recognition

Week Beginning 5th October 


Week Beginning 28th September

This week children have learnt and explored the meaning of the word 'representation'. This word will be encountered during their future learning in Mathematics. During this week, children considered how they could use movement to represent animals living in different environments. We also made representations of ourselves using a variety of craft materials. Children were encouraged to talk about texture and the similarities and differences between themselves and others.  

Foundation Stage Class of 2020

Week Beginning 21st September

This week children have begun to learn our daily routines. At the start of each day, they participate in an early morning task before the register is taken. Finding their name on the ‘big TV’ (interactive whiteboard) causes great excitement each day! Children especially enjoyed exploring books. They were asked to identify their favourite illustration and to share its ‘story’. The signed nursery rhymes were also very popular – thank you Mr Tumble! Mrs Davies and Mrs Kyte have enjoyed listening to children sharing their special times and adventures through the contents of their brown paper bags. Children have begun exploring our outside area. They have created their own fabulous songs and stories whilst using our stage area and took part in our number hunt.  We have also started our curriculum learning based the story ‘Here We Are’ by Oliver Jeffers.


Home Time

We would like to thank you for adapting to the new pick up routine. To improve the efficiency of this, we would kindly ask you to begun walking up the steps to meet your child and then walk past the classroom towards the school exit that is reached by walking through Forest School.





Home Learning

This week your child has taken home a book of their choice. Accompanying this, was information on how sharing a book together can support your child’s learning development, language and communication. Below is a copy of this information along with additional supportive materials

Week Beginning 14th September

Our new starters have enjoyed another fabulous week at school. Children have enjoyed exploring the climbing equipment in the main playground and practising different ways of moving during their physical development sessions. We used the markings on the playground to play and create a variety of games.


Active Fun!

Mrs Davies and Mrs Kyte

Getting ready for another exciting week of learning

Autumn Term 2020

Wow! It has been a wonderful first week of the Autumn Term and start to your child’s education at Willowbank. The children have enthusiastically explored the variety of activities in their classroom. Within the role play area, children created storylines with their new friends. During their imaginative play, children have cooked a range  of familiar meals, taken the baby dolls out for different adventures to the park and shops. They have been exploring number by making playdough cakes and decorating them with candles, gems and other craft materials. Our construction area has been used to recreate places in the locality that children visit. We have also been weeding and planting herbs in our sensory garden. The children have had great fun finding and collecting worms!

September Starter Information

Our first week at Willowbank

Meet the team

The Foundation Stage unit consists of myself (Mrs Kyte) and Mrs Davies. Our planning, preparation and assessment time (PPA) will be covered by Miss Burgin and Miss Mogford. Teaching assistants working within the unit are Miss Young, Miss Williams and Miss Rees.


From 21st September your child will be attending full time from 8.30am -3.10pm. During this week, we will finalise class lists and you will be informed if your child is in Mrs Kyte’s class (Caterpillar Class) or Mrs Davies’ class (Tadpole Class) by letter on Friday 25th September.  We value the importance of getting to know your child by spending time with them and getting to know their interests before placing them into classes.


We are aware that on your Parent Pay letters there is a class name (Tadpoles or Caterpillars next to your child's name), this has occurred as Parent Pay logins cannot be generated without a child being assigned to a class. The class name on these letters are not your child's class and were generated randomly. Mrs Ingram has send an email explaining this. 

Welcome to our new starters!


Mrs Davies and Mrs Kyte are really excited that we will be meeting you all next week. We have the classroom and activities ready - it is going to be lots of fun.


We have updated the social story that we sent during the summer break so that you can see what our learning and activities areas look like. We will give you all a copy when you are in school to take home and this will help you talk about school with your grown ups at home.

updated social story for starting school

To support your child’s transition from their preschool setting to primary school, we have complied photographs of our classroom, outdoor learning area and other locations that your child will become familiar with. You may want to share these with your child to help prepare them for September.

Willowbank virtual visit

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Stories read by Mrs Davies and Mrs Kyte

To further support your child's transition and for them to become familiar with the adults that they will be working with at Willowbank, our Foundation Stage teachers, Mrs Davies and Mrs Kyte will be adding 'story time sessions' to this web page and Willowbank Primary 2020 Facebook page. They will be reading the stories in different locations around the school so their new surroundings will also become familiar to them. A collection of stories  will be kept  for you to access and so if your child has a favourite story or has been talking about Willowbank, you can rewatch the films. They can also be used as conversation tools if your child is asking questions about starting school.

Storytime with Mrs Kyte

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Preparing Your Child for Starting School Introduction

Preparing your child for starting school

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It is important that your child  begins to practise how to dress themselves before they start school. Learning to get dressed builds your child’s confidence and independence and gives your them a sense of achievement.  Getting dressed also helps your child to develop many other skills such as fine motor, gross motor and thinking . To make this fun, the Foundation Stage team at Willowbank have put together this activity bank that will help you to practise these skills.


Please open the document below for ideas, information and activity ideas to help your child develop the skills associated with dressing themselves.

Number with a focus on counting

As your child grows up they will have experience of number in their day to day lives. For children  this can be made more explicit through number books, singing songs or noticing numbers when out and about. Being familiar and understanding number gives children a firm foundation which can be build upon as they continue their learning.

To make this fun, the Foundation Stage team at Willowbank  have put  together this activity bank that will help you to practise these skills.


 Please open the document below for ideas, information and activity ideas to help your child develop the skills associated with number.

Speaking and Listening

Providing your child with opportunities to  develop their speaking and listening skills are important in laying the  foundations for when they begin learning phonics, after they have started school. The emphasis  is on encouraging your child to: tune into sounds (auditory discrimination), Listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing) and Talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension). To make this fun, the Foundation Stage team at Willowbank  have put  together this activity bank that will help you to practise these skills.


What is phonics? Phonics involves matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters. For example, the sound  /k/ can be spelled as c, k, ck or ch. Reading and writing can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they’re combined will help children decode words as they read.


 Please open the document below for ideas, information and activity ideas to help your child develop the skills associated with speaking and listening.


Passionate about Home Learning

During the lockdown period, Mrs Jaworski has been using her many years of teaching experience and expertise to keep her toddlers busy at home. She has been creating a variety of fun activities and learning opportunities which use every day equipment and are easy to prepare. We are delighted that she has posted these on Instagram to share, inspire and support families in our school community.


Click on the link to ‘mytwotoddlers’ below to learn more

Continuous Provision

Continuous Provision are the resources provided in the classroom for your child to interact with. The idea of continuous provision is that it encourages children to develop what they have learnt with increased independence, confidence and creativity. Within our continuous provision, we also facilitate enhanced provision. This means that additional resources and opportunities are used to consolidate, develop and extend your child’s learning to meet their needs and interests.

Below is a slide show of the continuous provision we provide as well as some of the enrichment opportunities we offer. These opportunities include visits to the library, Killerton, police station, fire station, parent workshops and visits to Orchard Lea Nursing Home.

What shall i do if my children is feeling unwell? 

Our traffic light below can be used as guidance.

Please note that this was written prior to COVID-19.


RED-STAY AT HOME  Raised temperature , Rashes can be the first sign of many infectious illnesses such as chickenpox and measles,  if your child has a rash, check with your GP before sending them to school. Vomiting and diarrhoea. Children can return to school after 48 hours.

AMBER– SEEK ADVICE  Headaches.  A child with a minor headache does not usually need to be kept off school.  If the headache is more severe or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as raised temperature or drowsiness, then keep your child at home and consult your GP.

GREEN– COME TO SCHOOL*  Mild cough, mild cold, sore throat (unless accompanied by raised temp) Feeling tired.

*We will contact you if your child deteriorates during the school day.

School Uniform

Our embroidered jumpers, cardigans and PE polo t-shirts can be purchased from Thomas Moore's in Exeter. We are pleased to tell you that their shop in Fore Street, is due to reopen on Monday 15th June. 

Please note that their price guide has been recently updated, please see the pdf document below. Thank you