Welcome to Reception Class S


Welcome to Reception Class S at Allerton CE Primary School in Leeds. Here, under the careful guidance of Mrs Shipley, we will blog to the Big Wide World.

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Happy Blogging!

Bye-bye Butterflies

It has been lovely to hear about the children’s adventures over half term.

When we returned to the classroom, the children noticed that the chrysalides in the butterfly habitat were empty. A letter from Betty explained that her butterflies – Beatrice, Bryan and Bertie – had emerged last week so had been released. Luckily, she sent us some beautiful photos.

We were invited to the release of one of the butterflies from the other Reception classroom. We sang a fun song about caterpillars and butterflies – I wonder if the children can sing it for you? – before Mrs Willis very gently lifted the butterfly out of the habitat. We all waved the butterfly on its way. Mrs Willis then pointed out the moth cocoons in the tree, which we may have mistaken for spiders’ webs or stray candy floss. Thank you, Mrs Willis.

Tiny Apples

A visit to our class tree revealed that tiny apples have started to form. The children demonstrated their learning from last half term when they suggested that the apples would need more sunshine and water to grow bigger.

Frog Life Cycle

We also visited our very clean (thank you, Mr Amblin) school pond. The children were excited to observe the tadpoles swimming up to the surface of the water. We compared the life cycle of our butterflies with that of frogs. Most agreed that being a froglet would be the most fun part of the cycle!

Sports Day Practice

On Thursday, we had our first Sports Day practice. The children were excited to sit with their fellow house mates and we started to think about what we need to do to have an enjoyable and successful sports day: listen to instructions, support each other and try our best! We had lots of fun.

Floating and Sinking

As an introduction to the story, ‘Mr Gumpy’s Outing’, we have been exploring floating and sinking. As scientists responding to Mr Gumpy’s letter, we predicted how many animals we thought that our boat could hold before it sank. We then conducted an experiment to test our predictions and replied to Mr Gumpy with our findings. He very kindly sent us a copy of the book to enjoy.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend – I hope the children can explore floating and sinking with you at home.

Mrs Shipley


Thank you to everyone who talked about snails with their children last weekend. They were buzzing to share their knowledge when they arrived at school on Monday. We admired ‘The Snail’ by Henri Matisse – please ask the children how the French say snail – before working collaboratively in pairs to create our own fabulous collages. The children then presented their work to their peers, who posed as visitors to our Art Gallery.

We have also had snails in the classroom. Much to the delight of the children, this cheeky snail escaped from its habitat onto the table, enabling us to have a really close look at its features (and slime!). Some of the children chose to make pencil crayon drawings of snails. Some made super fact books. I wonder how many facts they are able to recall for you.


Because our chrysalides had hardened over the weekend, Betty Butterfly sent us instructions on how to rehouse them from their cosy cup to a butterfly habitat. We learned that it is very important to remove the silk web and fross surrounding chrysalides so that butterflies do not become entangled when they emerge. Entangled was a new word for us. We became entangled in rope so we might better understand how any webbing might prevent a delicate butterfly from opening its wings. We patiently await the emergence of our butterflies.

Thank you to all of the children for their kindness, sense of adventure and hard work this half term and to you for all of your support. I hope you all have a super break. Please encourage the children to read their reading books a few times (to develop fluency and comprehension), share their library book and practise their letter and number formation. 

Have fun.

Mrs Shipley


Past and present

Thank you very much for sending in the baby photos and for taking the time to talk to the children about when they were younger. They have been so excited trying to guess who was in each picture. They also enjoyed matching the teaching team to their baby photos. We discussed the similarities and differences between the children now and when they were babies.

Bean plant

I’m unsure what was in the air last weekend but our bean plant experienced an impressive growth spurt. We have started to use string to help us measure its height against the cubes. Sadly, the bean plant isn’t as strong as it is tall and the top broke off on Wednesday, teaching us that we need to be more gentle (our value of the fortnight).


When we arrived at school on Monday and took the caterpillars out of their warm bed, we noticed that they too had grown. We wrote to Betty with the good news that her caterpillars were attaching themselves to the lid of the pot and had started their metamorphosis into chrysalides. On Wednesday morning, we discovered that, unfortunately, two of the five caterpillars had not survived. Betty took the news well and wants us to remain focussed on caring for the remaining three.

Eid al-Fitr

On Monday, we learned about Eid al-Fitr – the festival of sacrifice, which marks the end of Ramadan. The children discovered that Ramadan is a holy month, where adult Muslims fast between dawn and sunset. The day which follows the first new moon after the month of Ramadan is Eid al-Fitr. The festival lasts for three days. During this time, children accept gifts and wear new clothes. They also eat lots of delicious food. Thank you to parents who sent in pictures of the celebrations. Riaab looks very smart here;  he was so proud to go to the mosque with his daddy and pray to Allah – “He protects me”. Taim celebrated by going to the fair with his family. He received a gift from his grandma and “had so much fun”.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend. If you bump into any snails, please take the time to observe them closely as we will be learning all about them next week. Thank you

Mrs Shipley

Observing plants and animals

Our Caterpillars

We were all very excited to arrive at school on Monday morning and discover that Betty Butterfly had asked us to look after her caterpillars, which had recently hatched from their eggs. Betty had left them with some food and asked us to keep her informed of their progress. We have noticed that the caterpillars grow longer and fatter each day. They are very active during the day and we tuck them into their bed at night because we know that being warm is important for their growth. Written and illustrated reports have been sent to Betty about the silk webs that the caterpillars have spun. We learned that the webbing would prevent the caterpillars from being blown off leaves if they were in a more natural environment. Please ask the children to talk to you about the caterpillars’ exoskeletons. Caterpillar models were also created for Betty in our DT workshop. It is very exciting to arrive at school each morning and discover that Betty appreciates our updates and writes back to us. We await the next phase of their life cycle in the coming week or two.

Our Bean Plant

Every morning, we measure the growth of our bean plant using multilink cubes. The children predict how many cubes higher it will be than the previous day. We also notice how the leaves are developing and how many more are emerging.

Mousey’s Apple Tree

After our successful imitation of ‘Jasper’s Beanstalk’ last week, we have spent the last few days innovating. The children collaborated with enthusiasm to create and illustrate their own book – ‘Mousey’s Apple Tree’. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as they enjoyed developing their wonderful tale.

Have a lovely weekend. Eid Mubarak to all of our families who are celebrating. We look forward to seeing any photos and talking about Eid on Monday.

Mrs Shipley


In maths this week, we have been considering the properties of 2D shapes. The children have noticed how many sides the shapes have and whether those sides are the same length for some or all of the examples. We looked at images containing lots of shapes and then practised our fine motor skills by cutting out shapes, which we used to create some super pictures ourselves.

The children have been watering our bean plant diligently so they were delighted to return to school after the Bank Holiday and see signs of a growth – a small shoot. They were also thrilled to see their individual bean plants starting to sprout and have had some wonderful, if competitive, conversations about growth!

Thank you to everyone who joined me for parent consultations this week. Your support is much appreciated.

Have a fun weekend. I am already excited about next week as we have some very special, hungry visitors joining us on Monday. I wonder if the children can guess what they might be.

Mrs Shipley

Jasper’s Beanstalk

This week, we have been enjoying the story of Jasper’s Beanstalk. We have created a story map, sequenced the events and imitated the story using some imaginative actions. Perhaps the children can act it out for you at home?

On Monday, we found our own runner bean, planted it, watered it and labelled it. Like Jasper, we are now waiting and waiting to see what happens.

Whilst waiting, we have challenged ourselves to make our own Jaspers by carefully colouring and cutting around his body parts before joining them together with split pins. The children are quite rightly very proud of the results of their hard work.

The new DT area in our classroom has inspired the children to make some wonderful models: cameras, a drink machine, a ‘pet drinker’, a rocket, a breakfast machine, flags….. Observing the children explain their innovations with such enthusiasm and confidence at the end of each day has been very inspiring.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in the Big Pedal Challenge. Not only have the children developed their fitness but it has also created opportunities for some interesting maths!

Wishing you all a relaxing bank holiday weekend.

Mrs Shipley


What gorgeous weather we have enjoyed in our first week of the Summer term!

We introduced our topic of ‘Growing’ by asking the children what they knew about potatoes, where they come from and what they might need to grow. Mrs Ajith kindly baked some for us to enjoy at snack time.

We were impressed to discover just how many children have planted fruit and vegetables at home, which is great as we will be competing against the other Reception classes in growing potatoes. Thank you to Mrs Willis – who is an expert in the garden – for coming to guide us in planting our seed potatoes. We learned that, as the plant emerges from the soil, roots will spread and potatoes will start to form. The children chose a sunny spot in the outdoor area, where we hope our plant will flourish. They will take turns to water it and we look forward to a bumper harvest of potatoes before the end of term.

The children also helped to make their own pots with newspaper before planting a runner bean seed each just like the character in Jasper’s Beanstalk. We discussed how the gardening tools in the story are used, considered how worms are good for the soil but how slugs and snails like to eat plants. We will be keeping a diary to record the progress of our beans.

I hope the fine weather continues into the weekend so we can all have fun outdoors.

Mrs Shipley

Holy Week

Our focus in Holy Week has been on the Easter story. We recalled our Nativity performance, where we celebrated the birth of Jesus. We learned that, as Jesus grew up, he became very popular and well-loved because he was kind and taught people many things. However, this led to some powerful but unkind people becoming jealous and angry. One Sunday, Jesus arrived in Jerusalem for a feast for Passover – a Jewish festival. The crowd of people laid palm branches at his feet. Those who welcomed him hoped that he would get rid of the Roman rulers. Ever since, people have waved crosses made from palm leaves on the Sunday before Easter – Palm Sunday.

The Bible tells us that Jesus was punished for being popular and he was nailed to a cross on a day we now call Good Friday. Instead of being angry, Jesus prayed for the people who put him there and he forgave them. When Jesus died, his disciples and friends were very sad.

On the next day – Holy Saturday – Jesus’ body was taken to a tomb. His best friend – Mary Magdelen – and some other friends saw where the tomb was and they sat outside, noticing that a huge stone was placed over the entrance. The following day, the friends returned to the tomb and noticed that the stone had been removed and the tomb was empty apart from Jesus’ clothes. They could not believe it and were frightened but an angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. Jesus has risen and he is alive again’. We learned that this was called the resurrection.

Mary then saw a man in a garden and it was Jesus. He asked Mary to tell everyone he was alive again but no one believed it until they saw him. For the next seven weeks, Jesus told everyone to spread the word about the miracle of his resurrection. Then he went to join his Father, God, in Heaven.

Since then, we have remembered the sacrifice Jesus made for us on Easter Sunday. We noticed the crosses on our hot cross buns before enjoying their fruity deliciousness.

We also made Easter cards and chicks, which the children are looking forward to sharing with you.

Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful Easter break. Thank you for all of your support this term.

Mrs Shipley

‘The whistle’s blowing, quick – jump aboard!’

In the classroom and outdoors, we have been boarding the Magic Train each day to imitate Sally Crabtree’s story, which you can sing along to at home if you would like. We took turns at being the station master (which presented the opportunity to punch holes in tickets and practise our number bonds to ten) and we ‘blew’ the whistle to send the train onto its next destination.

The children worked collaboratively in teams to see who could sequence the settings correctly first.

They then thought of a sentence, said the sentence, remembered the sentence, wrote the sentence and checked the sentence before adding some beautiful illustrations of their favourite or own imaginary setting. The land of cakes was a clear winner!

Take a look at where some of the children would like to go….

We are looking forward to preparing for Easter next week.

Now that we are back in school, please may we politely request that, if you need to contact us, you use office@allertonceprimary.com. Thank you.

Have a lovely weekend.

Mrs Shipley

The world outside of our window

This week we have been thinking about people around the world, who are less fortunate than ourselves. 

We learned that our classroom toilet is twinned with a latrine in South Sudan, Africa. Maddie was able to find Africa on our globe. We heard a story about an African girl called Rachel. She was very poor and her village had neither bins nor toilets. Consequently, the villagers were often sick. Some kind visitors came to the village and helped to build toilets. Rachel and her friends no longer suffer with tummy bugs and they can concentrate on their school work, which they love. We talked about how lucky we are to have indoor toilets in our school and homes.

To support Comic Relief, we shared jokes and had egg and spoon races. We also spent time thinking about how important it is to help others whenever we can. Thank you for your generous donations.

Do you believe in magic? This week, we have watched magic tricks, witnessed dickie birds flying away and had a magic light in the classroom. We discovered that, by rubbing prime colours together, we can magically produce secondary colours. The children had some wonderful ideas about what they might do if they were magicians. We then started to explore ‘Magic Train Ride’ by Sally Crabtree. The train took us into the jungle, underwater, outer space, a magic wood, the land of cakes and fairyland.  Next week, we will be thinking about where our magic train ticket might take us.

The weather has enticed us all outside this week and the children have risen to our skipping challenge with some earning their first certificates. Well done!

Thank you to Roham and Daniel for sharing their excitement about Persian New Year – Nowruz. We learned that it is an ancient Spring festival – celebrating the end of Winter and the rebirth of nature – which starts tomorrow morning and lasts for 13 days, Here’s Roham painting some eggs, which he will enjoy eating later. Happy new year!

Wishing you a lovely weekend.

Mrs Shipley