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Foundation Stage/ Year 1

Home Learning Fun!

Junk Modelling and Sculpture Home Learning


As part of our Design and Technology learning, children have been exploring the characteristics of different materials and finding out which one would be the most suitable for making a windsock. We shared great excitement when seeing how different materials react to windy weather and then wet weather. 


"it needs to be flexible . . . we won't know which way the wind is blowing" (wood)

"it is waterproof (the fabric) like my rain coat"

"it will rip because my mummy uses it and it breaks" (tinfoil)

"if you put it in water, it will get a hole in it" (paper)




This week, children enjoyed the great outdoors and developed first hand experiences linked to our curriculum learning of 'All Creatures Great and Small'. When moving from one activity to another, children participated in a nature 'scavenger hunt' where they had to look at the surroundings carefully to identify a wide variety of features. They had a selection of animal outlines and had to feel the many different textures of the tree trunks to select one most similar to that of the animals fur or skin. Children also applied their knowledge of what animals need to stay healthy and grow by building dens for small world animals. Their team work was amazing and they had considered what each of the animals needed.

World Book Day

Our library visit earlier on in the week started our World Book Day celebrations. Today,  Mrs Chapman read a mystery read to Wren and Robin classes and we looked at pictures which we are familiar with from a range of books. We explored where we had seen these pictures before and the events that happened in the stories we shared. The children looked superb in their costumes too!

Visiting our friends at Orchard Lea

Visiting different places helps children feel more confident when they are challenged with unfamiliar environments. A visit to Orchard Lea does this and so much more. 

In addition, children benefit from the praise and feedback they receive from the care home residents, and the residents enjoy the interaction with the children. Meeting new people also builds confidence and is the perfect environment to encourage self-esteem.


Benefiting with improved language development

Research has shown that children who regularly spend time with the elderly enjoy a positive impact on language development. Talking to new adults, reading stories and singing nursery rhymes, provides opportunities for young children to improve listening skills and expand their vocabularies with new words.


Gaining respect for the elderly

Another key benefit for children is that they can learn about ageing to develop an understanding and respect for the elderly.   

Visit to Cullompton Library

This morning children visited Cullompton Library as part of our celebrations for World Book Day on Thursday. Liz, the librarian, met us and explained how the library works and how to discover and choose new books. The children were excited to explore the a wide range of books that were offered. We collected books written by David Attenborough and the children can't wait to share them in class. 


Children in Wren and Robin classes took home a form to apply for a library card. If your child already has a library card, you do not need to complete form. If you would like to join the library, please complete the form and return it to us by the end of the week. Having a library card provides children with the opportunity to make their own book choices and of course, the library is an environment that instills the love of reading which leads to improved reading.

All Creatures Great and Small (Spring 2)

Children discover and explore the environments in which animals, including humans live. Below is our S Plan for our curriculum learning.


Lunchtime Activities

We were happy to see the sunshine this week. This meant that we could put out our lunchtime activities again for children to enjoy.

Spring 2 

Below are our S Plans for Year 1 Maths and EYFS/Year 1 English planning.

Singing with Toddler Group

Mrs Davies makes weekly Tuesday visits with  children from Wren and Robin classes to Willowbank Toddler Group. She brings her 'singing sack' . Singing is important in early childhood as it encourages children's development of language communication and literacy skills. It also helps develop children's social, skills. Children also learn about different beats and rhythms through singing.



For more information on  the government’s initiative to boost early literacy and communication, please  follow the link to It gives parents and carers of children 0-5, ideas of how to provide opportunities to develop language and communication.
Enjoying our lunchtime salad bar!

Spring Term 2

We are looking forward to an exciting half term. Take a look at some of our activities that we have planned

All Creatures Great and Small


As part of our curriculum learning ‘All Creatures Great and Small’, we welcomed Rob and some animals from his reptile collection. Robin and Wren classes met snakes Shannon, Fluffy, Rocky and Princess.  They also met Bob the Bearded Dragon. We learnt how these animals find out about the world around them and what it meant to be ‘cold blooded’. Rob spoke to us about what the reptiles needed to stay healthy and to grow. Children enjoyed learning about the similarities and differences between the reptiles and humans.

Reading was the focus of our recent parent workshop.


Book Talk is a great way for you to help develop your child’s reading comprehension skills and encourages you to engage in really meaningful discussion with your child about a text. Don’t feel as if you have to be firing questions at your child all the time. Try making statements about the book instead and allow your child to respond to your thoughts and ideas. Here are a few conversation starters to get you going…


I love that word…it makes me feel…

My favourite character is…because…

I wonder why that character is behaving so mysteriously/ excitably / unkindly…

I really can’t wait to find out what happens next!

I really like the pictures in this book because…


For more information about helping to develop your child’s reading skills, please click on the document below.

Paddington Bear

Paddington Bear has enjoyed his weekend visits with his friends so far this term and the children have enthusiastically shared their experiences with their classes. Remember that each time your child takes Paddington Bear home, they will also choose a ‘mystery book’. The purpose of the ‘mystery book’ is to encourage children to further develop their interest in reading and promote conversations about books.

David Attenborough

As part of our History and Knowledge of the World curriculum, children discovered a suitcase and looked at the artefacts carefully to find out who it might have belonged to. They then extended their knowledge of chronology to sequence the events in David Attenborough’s life.


Children begun to learn about how important the work of David Attenborough has been for making us aware of how the future of the natural world is in our hands.

Parent Workshop

This week, our focus was Number. To support your child at home we will follow up each Parent Workshop session with some information linked to that week's focus.


This week the information is on:


Subitising is a skill we all use but are unlikely to remember learning. Subitising is the ability to quickly recognise how many objects are in a group without actually counting them. As adults, most people can subitise up to five objects. We also subitise larger numbers of objects by ‘seeing’ them in groups of five or less and combining these.


How many dots are on each side of the dice?

What activities could we do to encourage children to subitise?

  • Games that involve hiding a small number of objects in a box or under a cloth, and getting children to take a peek and say how many there are.
  • Throwing a number (up to 5) of two-sided beanbags. Children then say what they can see “I can see 2 patterned and 1 plain beanbag – there are 3 beanbags altogether”. A more complex version of this would be to hide some of a known number of beanbags. “I have 3 beanbags. I can see 2, so there must be 1 in the box.”
  • Using 5 seeds, plant them in 2 flowerpots, talking about how many seeds are planted in each pot and making a total, for example, “2 seeds are planted in my pot and 3 seeds are planted in your pot. There are 5 seeds altogether”.

Spring Term visits to Orchard Lea

This week we took puzzles to our friends at Orchard Lea.

Activities that children have been exploring within their learning environment.


Our activities effectively support children’s learning development and provide children with the opportunity to demonstrate the three characteristics of effective learning.


Playing and exploring – engagement

Finding out and exploring

Playing with what they know

Being willing to ‘have a go’


Active learning – motivation

Being involved and concentrating

Keeping trying

Enjoying achieving what they set out to do


Creating and thinking critically – thinking

Having their own ideas

Making links

Choosing ways to do things

Bikeability Balance


Throughout this week, children have had the opportunity to participate in Bikeability Balance. These sessions are proven to improve a child’s ability to perceive and respond to the on-road hazards. At Willowbank, we are passionate about giving your child the skills which will enable them to keep safe and this is a wonderful enrichment opportunity to develop children’s understanding of risk and decision making.

Spring Term 2020


Welcome back after the Christmas break. Our curriculum learning this term will focus on  . . . 

Children are beginning to explore our Pet Shop role play which is exciting. Below are our S Plans showing our learning.

Our Concert for the residents from Orchard Lea

This afternoon our friends from Orchard Lea nursing home came to visit us at school. We dressed up in our costumes and sang songs from our Christmas play. Afterwards, we shared some biscuits and warm squash. The children presented the residents with a table centre piece that they made during one of their Forest School sessions. 

Andy and the Red Tractor

Mrs Davies shared a special moment with us - the delivery of her new tractor! Wren and Robin classes were all very excited to find out more about how the tractor is used and how it helps Andy on the farm. The children asked a variety of interesting questions to find out more.


"How do you put petrol in a tractor?"

"How do you steer a tractor?"


It was wonderful to hear children make connections between the different lights on a tractor with those that they learnt about during our visits to the Police Station and Fire Station.

Christmas Craft Morning

We had a wonderful morning creating a variety of Christmas decorations, cards and snowflakes. Thank you to all those parents who were able to join us. 

I'm Gonna Shine

We have had a wonderful morning sharing our Christmas Performance with the rest of the school. 

Cullompton Police Station and Fire Station.

Wow! What an exciting time we had this morning working on Our Story’ focus and becoming more familiar with the wider community of Cullompton and the variety of people within it. We all had our finger prints taken at the Police Station before trying on the hats and other clothes that police officers wear. We learn about the role of a police officer. 

Cullompton Fire Station

Whilst at the Fire Station children climbed into the back of the fire engine and learnt about the equipment kept on board. We had the chance to operate the hose (with a little help) and explored how high and fast we could make the water flow. 

Year 1 Reading

We are excited to be using Bug Club online books to support reading in school. Please use the log in details inside your child's Reading Log to share in the excitement at home. The more you read the more activities and games you can participate in

We are explorers!

Year 1 children used their learning based on the book 'Oi Dog' to create rhyming clues for their Foundation Stage friends. They used the 'talk for writing' approach to create 'story maps' for each clue. Year 1 encouraged the Foundation Stage children to use their knowledge of rhyming to predict where the items could have been hidden. We all joined in the adventure of finding the objects. Foundation Stage children excitedly explored parts of the school they do not usually use

Curriculum Plan 'Our Story' (Autumn 2)



Children explored the meaning of ‘remembrance’ by learning about artefacts that Mrs Kyte brought in that belonged to her grandparents and playing ‘Kim’s Game’. They then learnt how to make Anzac Biscuits (similar to those that soldiers ate during wartime) and tasted them. Children learnt how 'Jelly Babies' were first launched in 1918 to celebrate the end of the First World War and were originally called 'Peace Babies'.  Children designed their own ‘Peace Baby’ and explored their ideas.


“I’m going to draw birds on my Peace Baby because “they are peaceful and quiet.”

“I’m going to colour my peace baby red because it is like poppies and love hearts.”

“My Peace Baby is going to have a happy face. My Peace Baby is blue because blue makes me feel calm.”


Secret Reader

After enthusiastically trying to guess who our secret reader was, the children were delighted to settle down and hear a few stories read to them by a grandparent.


 At Willowbank, we strive to foster a love of reading both in school and at home. The aim of "Secret Reader" is to show children that adults love reading too so we would like to invite parents, grandparents or other family members to come in and read a children's story.   This could be a book you particularly enjoyed reading when you were growing up or a current children's book brought from home. 

Singing with the Children at Toddler Group

Mrs Davies was helped by children in Wren and Robin to teach the children at our Tuesday Toddler Group new songs and practise ones they are already familiar with.

Special Delivery!

Wren and Robin classes were pleased to meet Dave, the postman, this morning. He delivered a parcel and explained how he knew where to find us by talking about our address. We were interested to find out more about being a postman and listened carefully as he talked about his uniform, what a postman does and how he keeps safe when it is dark.

We had great fun predicting what may have been delivered.

“it’s a toy . . . a dinosaur toy”

“it’s a rectangle”

“a bus, it’s the same shape”


We were pleased that it was another Paddington Bear, so that the Paddington Bear in Wren class now has someone to play with. The children decided that Hide and Seek would be a good game for them to play. We then explored positional language.

Parent Information Evenings

It was lovely to see so many parents attend our information evenings. We hope you enjoyed exploring your child's books and found the information about expectations, curriculum and opportunities to become involved in your child's learning useful. For those unable to attend, please look at the presentation attached.

Our Curriculum

 Below are our 'S Plans' of what we will be teaching during our Maths sessions.

Year 1 Maths

Foundation Stage Maths

Orchard Lea Nursing Home

This week, Mrs Davies visited Orchard Lea with small groups of children and her 'Singing Sack'.  The children sung a variety of familiar songs and rhymes.  Having the children visit is a real benefit to the residents and their enthusiasm to participate is much greater with the children present. It is also a great opportunity for children to develop their self confidence in different social situations and build their repertoire of songs and dances.

Luna and Sally visit Forest School

Today the children were greeted by two special visitors during their Forest School session. Luna and Sally (the tortoises) helped Miss Mogford to explain about hibernation as part of their work on seasons and exploring the world around them.

Maths Parent Workshop

This week's parent workshop focused on Maths. Children participated in some fun activities including gloves filled with sand, counting using the light box and games of 'Pirate I Spy'. It was great to see so many parents. Please look at the noticeboard, MyEd and our school website for when the next workshops are. We look forward to seeing both Year 1 and Foundation Stage parents, grandparents and other family members to join in the fun.

Parent Workshops

This Wednesday, our parent workshop focus will be Mathematics. Join us to find out what your child has been learning and how you can help them at home. There are plenty of fun, learning activities to participate in. We look forward to see you!

Here are some of the activities children participated in during our last parent workshop.

Orchard Lea Nursing Home 

We have had another fabulous visit to Orchard Lea by continuing our fortnightly small group visits. We will be placing names of those children who visit on our noticeboard so that they can be encouraged to share their adventures with those at home. This week we took a variety of balls, hoopla games as well as skittles and great fun was had by all.


The Exciting Launch of Bug Club for Year 1 children

We are very excited to announce that we are now allocating books electronically, following our weekly guided reading sessions. This is a fantastic new resource which the children are already thoroughly enjoying. The children are able to answer quiz questions based on the books that they read, earning coins which can then be spent on rewards!

Children have all been given a username, password and school code which allows access to the site. Details of these have been stuck into the front of their Reading Logs along. The website link to follow is

Parent Workshops

Our parent workshops have begun! They have been extremely well attended in the past and are back by popular demand. The workshops are an informal opportunity for parents and carers to participate in a variety of activities. They give ideas on how to support your children at home and show how to make learning in Maths, Reading and Phonics both exciting and engaging.

Some of these workshops will be ‘Stay and Play’, where younger siblings are welcome to participate in the activities provided. We would appreciate that during these session, younger siblings be respectful of the classroom environment so you can all benefit from the sessions.

Parent Workshop Autumn Timetable



Workshop Focus


2.50 – 3.15pm


What is phonics?

What is segmenting and blending?


2.50 – 3.15pm


Developing a real understanding of number.


2.50 – 3.15pm


Developing reading skills and a pleasure in reading.

‘Stay and Play’


2.50 – 3.15pm


Mark making.


2.50 – 3.15pm

Phonics (session 2)

Progression phonics?

What is segmenting and blending?

‘Stay and Play’



Christmas Craft morning

September Starter's Welcome

Thank you to those parents who were able to attend our informal gathering on Friday. It was an opportunity to meet other parents, our parent support worker and learn about our wonderful PTFA. Mrs Kyte talked briefly about what to expect in first few weeks of your child joining Willowbank as well as some Phonics and reading tips. We have uploaded this below for all parents.

Orchard Lea Nursing Home

This week saw our first visit to Orchard Lea Nursing Home where the children shared some familiar stories with the residents. A small group of children will be visiting the residents every other week (the groups will change with each visit). They will be participating in different planned activities with the residents which will focus on a variety of speaking, listening as well as personal, social and emotional areas of the Year 1 and EYFS curriculums. Both the residents and children had a fabulous time. They eagerly shared their experience with Mrs Ingram when they returned to school.



'Our Story' S Plan

Our theme for this term is ‘Our Story’. This theme gives your child a great opportunity to share their existing knowledge and understanding as a starting point for their learning. More information about the aspects that we will be exploring are in our ‘S Plan’ below. In addition to our planned activities, learning opportunities are also developed through child-led interests. 

S Plan for 'Oi Frog'

Maths S Plan

Autumn Term 2019

Welcome back after the summer break. We hope that you and your child had an enjoyable summer and feel refreshed and ready to start the new term. We have planned an exciting term with lots of activities and opportunities. We are really looking forward to working alongside you as your child continues their learning journey at Willowbank.

Meet the team