In Reception, I have found the lessons to be kept short and brisk in order to maintain the children’s focus. For example, today we learned about Diwali as a class. When Mrs. Hicks was gathering the students for the story, she rang a bell to get their attention. This is their cue to quiet down and be prepared to listen. This lesson, like most that include a story, was done on the carpet the children sitting in their carpet workspaces. After we talked about Diwali, they did the normal phonics, to break up the lessons, and I worked with a group of children who were struggling.
After phonics, we talked more about Diwali, reviewing the story. Then the children watched a movie on Diwali, which talked about rangoli. The children colored their own for the holiday, and they worked on coloring neatly and making the design symmetrical. The movie was made for small children, so it was short and entertaining, which engaged the students. To finish the morning’s lessons on Diwali, Mrs. Hicks asked questions which the children answered verbally.
In the afternoon, we continued with some Diwali learning, and I worked with children to decorate the swan that was used to fly away. I had a little buddy, who attached himself to me today, who wanted to continue to decorate the swan. Activities like these are used to reinforce what is being taught in a fun way that keeps the children’s attention.
Most of the assessments have been verbal assessments in Reception. This means that there is not too much homework for the children that is mandatory yet, mostly because the children are only just beginning to learn to read and write, which are key concepts for homework. We have just begun to send home sheets of numbers for the children to practice writing, however while this is suggested, it does not appear that all the children actually do them, or at least they are not all returned.
I think the most trouble with timing comes in with transitions. Things like going in and outside takes a lot of time because of winter clothing. Many children still need help to zip or unzip coats, and the time to help them cuts into lesson time. Additionally, cleaning up from busy time takes longer than expected some days. Since Mrs. Hicks has been working with small children so long, I think she plans this time into the day very often, but even still, it takes extra time sometimes. It is pretty similar to what I have seen in US classrooms with children this little.