Otterbourne Church of England
Primary School

With God's love, all are encouraged to thrive

Year R Blog



May has been a fabulous month, full of growth and change.

Kit's mummy brought Kit's pet chicken to school for a visit so that the children could see the full life cycle. It was amazing to look at how big they grow and for them to explain how they care for them.

The children drew some beautiful chick pictures using the dye from dandelion flowers that were crushed in a pestle and mortar. It was the perfect chick colour!

We have watched the caterpillars grow and create their cocoons, hanging form the lids of the little pots they were in. We have then seen them emerge into butterflies. The children celebrated their release this week waving coloured scarves as the butterflies flew away across the meadow.

Our garden is full of plants and vegetables that the children have planted - some from seeds and some from seedlings. We have broccoli, purple broccoli, potatoes, courgettes, herbs, nasturtium, lettuce, peas, beans and more. 

Our cafe role play changed to a fruit and vegetable shop. Alongside real vegetables the children also made salt dough vegetables which they painted. They have loved serving each other and weighing the produce.

Water play has been a big hit. There have been some extraordinary gutter inventions with children showing immense teamwork and problem solving skills.

This week the children have loved building zoos and learning about baby animals including humans. Our baby photos have been a joyful hit.

Devidu's daddy came to talk to us about Vesak, which is a celebration for Buddhists. The children impressed him with their knowledge of Buddha and enlightenment as well as the comparisons to the other faith festivals we have shared this year. He kindly gave every child a beautiful lantern to take home.

26.4.24 Egg-citing times!

While we were on our trip, we had an egg-citing delivery! 

An incubator arrived with ten living eggs in it. They were brought to us with a hatch date of Wednesday.

We noticed a crack appear on one of them on Tuesday afternoon but nothing more. Sure enough Wednesday was the day... 8 chicks hatched! On Thursday a ninth chick took most of the day to hatch and arrived just before home time. It was eggs-hausted! 

We had discussed with the children that in nature not all animals survive and we had touched upon this in our food chain work the previous week. The children understood that not all animals will survive. We believe that egg number ten will not hatch but we will leave it in the incubator over the weekend just to be sure.

The children are fascinated by life cycles and are confident with frogs, chicks and butterflies. Our writing box and walls are full of posters, paintings, drawing and writing about life cycles and food chains.

In PE the children were chicks and had to follow Mr. Tumble's instructions really carefully.

In forest school the children did some nature weaving using leaves and grass that they found. We have one giant frame made from large sticks and some smaller frames from sticks the children collected. 

Mrs. Johnson and her children, are looking forward to hosting the chicks in the Johnson Chick Hotel over the weekend. 



22.4.24 Cafe Trip

What an experience the children had on our cafe trip!

We began the day putting on our aprons and then sitting and listening to Mr. Bertacchini. He told us all about the jobs that a cafe owner must do to be successful. The children listened carefully and offered suggestions about different things. 


We then set off on our cycle of jobs:

1: sandwich making - the children washed hands (twice) and followed picture instructions to make the sandwiches that had been ordered.

2: napkin folding - the children carefully folded napkins for parents and then we forgot to put them out for you!!

3: chef hat making: there was careful folding and cutting to make chef hats to keep hair away from the food.

4: menu writing - using a phonics mat the children prepared menus for our role play cafe at school

5: sandwich costing - Numicon shapes supported the children in their calculations of the fillings for their sandwich.

6: cleaning and greeting: there was alot of cleaning to be done (tables, chairs, fridge, windows and ice cream counter) and greeting real guests with "Can I get you anything else?" or "How is your drink?"


After all that hard work the children ate their lunch and got to choose an ice cream from the counter. We had a little play up on the grassy patch before our grown ups arrived. 


When our grown ups were sitting down, we brought them their sandwiches and stayed for a chat. Then we scooped ice creams and helped to clear the tables.


Our afternoon ended with every child using the real till to work out their parents bill. "cash or card?" was asked and children took payment with a smile.


It really was an exceptional day. An experience the children will not forget smiley





Lovely to see the children back in school after the Easter holidays.

We had a very nature inspired week this week.

The children helped Mrs. Johnson to tidy up the mud kitchen and garden. They planted herbs in our pallet planter and made a bamboo teepee den for sweet peas to grow up.

Our new project is "How does it grow?" and we began with the lifecycle of a frog. We went pond dipping and the children learnt how how to safely balance on one knee so that they could lean forward and not fall in. Everyone was exceptionally sensible and safe, following all of the pond rules. We were originally looking for tadpoles but the newts have probably eaten them.

We found newts, mayfly nymph, dragonfly nymph, water boatmen, pond skaters and beetle larvae. We brought a tray back to class to look closely at the creatures under the visualiser and then used an identification chart to identify them.

The children understood the life cycle frogspawn, tadpole, froglet and newt. They also understood the food chain leaf eaten by tadpole, eaten by newt, eaten by hedgehog/cat/fox.

We also took delivery of some caterpillars and the children helped Mrs. Bertacchini to move them from the group pot into individual pots with special caterpillar food. They were teeny tiny and the children are excited to see them grow and change.






A busy two weeks in Penguin's Class. We've learnt all about the story of Easter and our R.E. focus was why the Easter Garden has a cross in it. We talked about why Good Friday was "good" even though Jesus died. The children really understood the significance of Christians being happy that (in simple terms) Jesus died to save the world. In their own play, the children have retold the story using the large equipment outside. They carried the cross and created a tomb with a basket stone which was guarded by a soldier and angel.

Kadijha Mujitaba came to visit to share her family's experience of Ramadan. She shared a song about the Ramadan Moon and story and the children ate dates. Dates are the first thing that they eat as they break their fast after sunset each day.

River's mummy came to visit too. She (and River) showed us all of the equipment that a nurse might use. The children knew some from our role play. They enjoyed having their temperature taken with a real thermometer. Mrs. Hall had her blood pressure taken... it was not as high as it might have been :-)

We enjoyed Wild Worship with some children from Giraffe Class. The children really loved this and noticed the willow cross in the woods. We made our own crosses in forest school and added three to our beautiful Easter Garden. 

Leopards class came to read us their Mr. McGregor stories from the Tale of Peter Rabbit. The children loved it and made some new Year 2 friends for lunch play.

We also enjoyed some Easter themed yoga with Cosmic Kids on YouTube. 

"What's in the Box?" and the tray of writing treasure has had an Easter theme. The children have all been busy writing for certificates and treasures from the tin.

Have a happy Easter and don't forget to check bookbags for some gorgeous Easter cards :-)





This week we have explored the faith of Islam, as Ramadam began on Monday. The children are really spotting the similarities of different world faiths which was our goal for this year. During Ramadam, Muslims reflect and consider their service to God (Allah) and consider ways to show kindness to others. The children were very excited to see the 30 day calendar and compared this to Advent. Our kindness calendar has been in focus every day this week. After a story session one of the children said "she could tick that on her calendar" referring to a characters kindness. Our litter pick session with Mrs. Johnson was really popular and the children then helped to write an email to the junior classes to express their sadness about the mess after their playtime. 

After our visit from Mrs. Lewis last week the children have been architects. They have created houses for our Penguin Town. There has been so much problem solving when cutting windows and doors. Lots of teamwork and collaboration with giant boxes too.

Our Wednesday Teamwork task was a real challenge for the boys who were more interested in hokey cokey than passing the hoop around the circle without letting go of hands. The girls on the other hand were focused and extremely clever in their strategies. After demonstrating to the boys how to do it the boys were spurred into action and had a much better go!

Mrs. Science (aka Mrs. Simmonds) came in to do some nature faces with resources the children collected outside plus a few from her garden.  

On Thursday the children had a last minute R&R session with Coach Dan and Coach Ashley. They used a variety of balls (tennis, rugby, football,) and played lots of team games. They loved it!

We laughed a lot this afternoon at the children's jokes - some of the funniest were the made up ones :-)

The theme of the day was to make someone smile - the children definitely did that!








The children have worked so hard on their mummy portraits this week. First drawing them in pencil and then painting them in water colours.

They have also written special messages on the back. Every child tried really hard to identify sounds and tricky words plus they carefully wrote each kinetic letter.


We hope you love them heart



We started the day with Mrs. Holland's assembly. All of the children and grown ups took in their favourite books. The teachers joined in with a special book "Ten Delicious Teachers" that Mrs. Holland had adapted with lots of teacher faces and names in it. We saw the winners of the Reading in Unusual Places competition. The children loved looking at all of the entries back in class too!

We had LOTS of stories from Mrs. Hall (Ginger's Adventures), Mrs. Bertacchini (Smiley Shark), Mrs Johnson (Panda, Panda, What do you see?), Mrs. Sprack (Alternative Fairy Stories), Mrs. Smith (Y1) (Mrs Jolly's Umbrella) and Mrs. Northam (Y1) (What The Ladybird Heard). 

After lunch we shared books with our buddys and then it was time for "snuggle time". We dimmed the classroom, snuggled down under blankets with friends and read by torchlight. It was really magical :-)

Miraculously, the children all managed to put their stuff back in their own bags - we'd been dreading that bit!

We had enough time left to watch The Snail and the Whale.




Lots of fun in our Teamwork PE slot - we played a forward, back and turn game. 

Music with Mrs. Bertacchini is always fun and this week the children used scarves too.

We've been lucky enough to have two visiting parents this week who have talked about their jobs. 

Mrs. Lewis (Felicity's mummy) talked to the children about being an architect. She told them she was inspired by Lego as a child and that started her journey towards designing buildings. We looked at some sketches, blueprints and photographs of building that Mrs. Lewis had designed. The children were super impressed with the school in Plymouth, which, incredibly, some of the children had been to!

Our next guest was Mr. Dickinson (James' daddy). He came to take about being an air traffic controller at NATS. He used toy planes to demonstrate how they need to move in the sky so so they don't crash into each other. Mrs. Hall was the toy plan pilot and had to request permission to land from Mr. Dickinson. We also looked at live radar to see which planes were flying over Otterbourne. It was amazing to see the type of plane and where it was going.

Thank you to both parents for sharing. If anybody else would like to come in, we'd be delighted!



We've been busy bees with assessments this week. The children have wowed us with their progress in Bug Club letter sounds and tricky words alongside their kinetic letters handwriting.

All of a sudden, children are choosing to write labels, notes and cards. It has been really lovely to see.

As we have explored People Who Help Us, we have focussed on daddy, granddad and uncles. The children have shared what daddy does for a job and some of the things he does at home too.

Our role play area turned into a Doctors Surgery. The children were bandaged and mended but sadly, in some cases, I think the patients felt worse by the time they left...!

We returned to our Writing Books which have been somewhat redundant since starting Kinetic Letters. Only a few pages had been used with early name writing practice way back in September. What a transformation! Working 1-1 with Mrs Bertacchini, half the class have written their first sentence. Many of these were unaided and all children segmented the words, found the sounds on the word mat and thought about their letter formation. It has taken a while as the children worked methodically on each word. The rest will be done next week.

In Numicon we have begun doubling. The children enjoyed matching up the pairs of Numicon shapes and working out the totals. They got quicker as the week progressed.

Forest school was great fun. The children are showing resilience and good character in the mud and rain. This week they created some fantastic repeating patterns - see if you can spot them in the photos below...




We've had another busy and exciting week in year R - I can't believe we've only been back at school a week!


On Monday, we talked about the NSPCC pants rule.  Through the engaging Pantosaurus story and song, the Penguins learnt the simple message that their bodies belong only to them and that they should always tell an adult if they are upset or worried.  The catchy song has been a BIG favourite, played multiple times throughout the week - reinforcing this essential message in a fun and memorable way.  If your child hasn't already pestered you to find the song , here's the link!  Apologies - its an earworm!!






Along side our lessons on personal safety, we also dedicated time to learn about the fascinating world of earthworms.  The children learnt about how important worms are for our ecosystem, learning which culminated in making our own Wormery during our Outdoor Learning session. Despite the persistent rain, the Penguins puddle suited and wellie booted themselves up and embraced the elements to search for earthworms.  Together, we created the Wormery using stones, sand and mud, topped off with the remains of the fruit they enjoyed upon returning to the classroom.  Well done Penguins!!  Their resilience, team work and incredible good humour in bad weather made me very proud of them all.


In phonics, we focused on "tricky words" and continued with these words in Kinetic Letters.  It's incredible to see the children's growing confidence in both tackling their tricky words and in  their letter formation.


This week in maths, as well as continuing on with number recognition, the Penguins have been creating number sentences, demonstrating their subtraction skills using Numicon shapes with confidence and enthusiasm.


All in all, it's been a week filled with tricky words, Kinetic Letters, number sentences, worms , pants, an important NSPCC message, two Penguin birthdays and quite a lot of rain.  Have a lovely weekend. x



This week was Otterbourne's "Be Happy Be Healthy" week- a fun filled and exciting 5 days  packed with a whole range of activities designed to help the children to understand their physical and mental fitness.


As you may have heard, an integral part of this week was the "daily mile" - every day, come rain or shine, we velcroed up our trainers and hit the playground for a quick jog/hop/skip (not quite a mile!!wink) around the playground.  The children loved this and their enthusiasm never wavered - they were brilliant and it proved to be a fantastic way to wake us all up and get ready for the day of learning and fun!


Even more running came with Monday's inter-house cross country event.  One muddy lap around the school field for the Penguins accompanied by their Y6 buddies.  The children ran superbly and enthusiastically.  There were quite a few slips and slides, but each child who fell, got up and carried on - most importantly with smiles on their faces!!  I was very proud of them all.


On Tuesday, continuing on with their physical activity, we were very lucky to have a session with Mrs. Alderman, a personal trainer, who showed us some brilliant exercises to keep our bodies strong and healthy.  We learned all about the importance of staying active and taking care of our bodies.  The children also shared their impressive knowledge about fruit and vegetables.


Wednesday was scooter day!! We had an absolute blast outside, the Penguins were highly proficient on their scooters, following the improvised one way system on the Meadow Playground beautifully.  The children showed great skill in negotiating roundabouts and zebra crossings and the speed police didn't have to issue any fines....(just a couple of warnings here and there!!)


On Thursday, linked with the Penguins' learning about Chinese New Year, we had a special Chinese New Year yoga session where we learned some traditional poses and stretches.  It was a another great way to recognize this festival whilst practicing mindfulness and relaxation.


Meanwhile, back in the classroom the Penguins made a Chinese dragon to celebrate Chinese New Year.  We used colourful tissue paper to bring our dragon to life and he looked brilliant until it started to rain!!!  The children showed great patience as he underwent a quick repair job!  He is now keeping a watchful eye over us all from the classroom ceiling.  We also made Chinese red lanterns which are supposed to bring fortune and good luck! (fingers crossed!!)


A highlight of the week and to continue the celebrations, the whole class enjoyed a Chinese food tasting session,  tasting noodles, seaweed, sweet and sour chicken and prawn crackers! The penguins tried it all and loved (almost) every bite.  I think there were "thirds" of noodles in some cases!!


We were also extremely lucky this week to have a visit from Mr. Lo who talked to us about the traditions and customs of the Chinese New Year.  The children were fascinated to learn how Isaac's family spend the festival and about how it is celebrated around the world.  A huge thank you to Mr. Lo for his time, Chinese sweets, prawn crackers and fortune cookies! We really appreciate it.


On Friday we enjoyed a lesson aimed at promoting great oral hygiene which culminated in all of us brushing our teeth for a whole two minutes, ensuring that we even reached right to the very back of our mouths!!!!! It was a lot of fun - apologies for the toothpaste stains down jumpers!!


In addition to keeping our smiles bright, we also received a PE session from Coach Robbie at  R and R  sports coaching to finish the week off perfectly.  The Penguins had great fun during this session - not only enhancing their motor skills but fostering great teamwork too!!


As if the week wasn't already exceptionally busy, the Penguins have also learnt three new sounds, continued their reading and their kinetic letter journeys with ever growing confidence,  and worked really hard on number sequencing and recognition activities!!!  They must be exhausted!!  I hope you all have a lovely relaxing half term and we shall see you back for more fun on the 19!! xx









Sorry no photos as the iPad went missing!

We have been continuing our Diversity Aspiration with the first week of Chinese New Year learning.

We have looked at some of the traditions which are similar to Diwali such cleaning away bad spirits and using light such as fireworks and candle/lanterns.

We have painted dragons and decorated the classroom with red paper chains. The children "helped" to set up the Chinese Restaurant and Takeaway. The children have prepared, served and eaten lots of noodles and chicken. The Hygiene Rating has been a bit hit and miss. It was closed several time when food was found on the floor!

Thursday afternoon was glorious for our forest school trip to the woods. The children enjoyed a bird story and song and made faces using sticks, stones and leaves.






It was a beautiful day for a bird watch on Monday. The RSPB Big School birdwatch involved an hour of bird watching in a specific area. We chose our Year R play area as we have been feeding the birds and watching them since before Christmas. The children took ten minute shifts to sit quietly with a clipboard to record each bird that appeared. What an incredible array of birds came to visit! Mrs. Science (aka Mrs. Simmonds) wondered if we would see more species of birds than the 9 that Year 6 spotted in October. 

Well the results were counted and verified in our maths lesson:


We saw 11 species of birds including a pheasant that hopped onto the fence from the churchyard!!

To say we are mildly obsessed with birdwatching is an understatement. On Wednesday we noticed a blue tit going in and out of the nesting box. We watched two amazing videos about Blue Tits:





From empty nest to first egg in less than 8 minutes! - BlueTit nest box live camera highlights 2021

The rest of the week has been busy with Bug Club learning sounds ar, or, ur, ow and oi.

We've also been doing our KL handwriting. 

In Class Collective Worship we read The Rainbow Fish. We are thinking about Loving Others. The children understood that the Rainbow Fish shared her scales and then felt happy. We made sparkly scales for our buddies.




What a productive and chilly week this week!

The children had a fantastic time making their ice mobiles on Monday in readiness for the first of our overnight freezes. They picked special things around the frosty field and then brought them back in their containers to sort. The challenge was to have ten items and only two of them could be brown (otherwise it would have been a handful of dead leaves!!!). After topping them up with water, we left them overnight and Mrs. Hall got chilly hands hanging them up in the morning. they really did look gorgeous!

Our teamwork PE session was in a circle and we had to work together to push the empty toilet roll tubes along the string. It was hilarious - the competitive streaks came out and the children were screeching at each other to go faster. We got the time down to 1 minute 43 seconds to get 6 rolls around the whole class.

Our bird obsession has continued. We made fir cone bird feeders by smearing lard into the grooves and rolling them in bird seed. The birds loved them and we've seen blue tits, long tailed tits and coal tits hanging off them. The children are so excited to see the birds when they are outside or watching through the window.

Sorting the lids has been fun - lots of different ways involving colour, size and material.

We read the story "Only One You". This initiated a lot of love heart making which were meant to be placed on pillows at home as a surprise. The illustrations in the story are painted rock characters so the children looked carefully at the patterns and designed their own.  These designs were copied onto the stones and decorated really carefully by the children. Next week we will give them several coats of varnish before Mr. Hiscox cements them onto our "mud strip" (a waster strip of dirt which is currently cordoned off as its so messy).

The ground was too hard to plant daffodils so we'll wait for a bit of a thaw next week.


Separate photo post of the selfies the girls took when they learnt how to switch the camera on the iPad! I deleted the 5 million photos of the floor before posting.....




Selfie's with the iPad!!




We've had a bird themed week to get us ready for the RSPB Big Bird Watch which school can start now. The children have been making masks, water-colouring/colouring birds and watching the birds on the feeders in the outside area.

Our teamwork PE was balloon keepy uppy's. At first this was a bit competitive with children wanting to do all of the keepy uppy's and then they got the idea of taking turns and working together. By the end of the session, every team was working cooperatively.

We have enjoyed learning new Bug Club sounds: oa (boat), oo (spoon) and oo (book). The children have done lots more handwriting and have been writing words and short sentences. Really impressed with letter formation and children's determination to improve. 

We enjoyed the remnants of the snow on Tuesday morning with mini snowball fights and lots of ice play. There were very cold fingers at the end but we had lots of fun!

The woods were predominantly dry and crunchy under foot as the frost hadn't thawed. We looked for signs of winter and the effect the sunshine had on melting the grass frost. The children each found a frosty leaf and melted it in their hands. In the centre of the wood was an ENORMOUS puddle. Everyone enjoyed walking through the water but some wellies (and legs) were shorter and we ended up with lots of soggy socks!!

Miss Whitbread came to see the children do Bug Club and Kinetic Letters on Thursday. She was SOOOOOO impressed with how focussed and engaged the children were. Well done Team Penguins :-)