Monksmead School

Respect, Reflect, Believe, Succeed

 Welcome to Year 1

Teacher: Mrs Moynihan

TA: Mrs Kevin

I hope that you all had a fantastic summer and are ready for the new year ahead.  I am very eager to get to know my new Year 1 class, it is going to be a wonderful year!  Please have a read of the information below; this should answer a few of the questions that you may have.  Our class timetable has been uploaded onto the website, along with the KS1 long term plan so that you know the topics that we will be covering throughout the year.



The focus at the very start of the year will be on the children’s social and emotional wellbeing as I want to make sure that, first and foremost, every child is happy in school.  After whole class teaching in each subject, I will be working with small groups for the first few weeks to help the children to settle.  Whilst I work with a group, the other children will have ‘Discovery Time,’ known in Reception as ‘child initiated learning.’ Child initiated learning or Discovery Time, involves children making decisions about what they want to do, where, with whom, and what resources they will need. They then need time to play, to explore and experiment with their ideas. This type of learning is essential for children at this stage of development, to enable the children to embed those early learning goals, before moving on to a more formal approach to learning in the latter part of the Autumn term. 



I will teach reading through our daily English lessons and ELS phonic sessions.  In addition, an adult will hear each child in the class read at least once a week. Each child will be given a reading record and these will be checked when they have their individual reading time, which could be on any day, so please make sure that your child’s reading zip wallet is in school every day.  Children’s reading books will be changed on a Friday.  They will have one fully decodable book from the ELS scheme and two ‘shared reading’ books for you to share with your child.  It is very important that the ELS reading book (it will not have a ‘shared reading’ sticker on it) is read at least four times, to aid fluency.


Please try your best to read with your child every day, this will help to improve fluency and accuracy and hopefully be a lot of fun to do together. 



Homework will be given out on a Wednesday and is due back in on a Monday.  It will be related to work covered in class and is meant as a chance for the children to consolidate their learning.  Most weeks the work will be English and maths based, but on some occasions I may set work from other curriculum areas.  If homework is not completed, I will work with those children during their break time to help them complete the task set.  This work is set in addition to regular reading at home. Please do not use pen or felt-tip to complete homework, please only complete homework using pencil for written work and colour pencil for colouring in.



PE lessons will be on a Monday and Thursday every week this term.  Please make sure that your child has their PE kit (named) in school on both days.  Each child will need a pair of plimsolls or trainers for PE, a white t-shirt with the school logo, and blue or black shorts, as well as blue tracksuit bottoms in case it is cold.  Please make sure that your child is able to put their own shoes on and fasten them themselves. Please do not send shoes with laces until your child is able to tie them without support.



Please make sure that your child has a named water bottle in school so that they can keep hydrated during the day.  Due to hygiene reasons we can not provide cups for the children, so it is very important that they have their own water bottle. 


Adult Support

I am very lucky to have the most amazing adults working alongside me, supporting the children in Year 1. Miss Kevin is the class teaching assistant and Mrs Jevon volunteers in class most days.  There are also a number of other adults in class giving one to one support.  Mrs Phillips will be teaching the children Art, DT and Music during my management and PPA time. Together, the whole team, children and parents form the Year 1 family.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to pop in to school to see me, it is ever so important that we work together to provide your child with the very best experience at school.


Thank you,

Natasha Moynihan

Phonics and Reading

At Monksmead School we have adpoted a new synthetic phoncis scheme called ELS.  ELS has a clear progression of reading books that are phonetically decodable.  Books have been carefully aligned so that they specifically match what children have been learning in class.   Children in Reception and Year 1 will bring home a phonetically decodable book, linked to their learning, each Friday.    With ELS, there is a daily phonics lesson where the teacher teaches a new sound, or reviews sounds learned earlier in the week. This is shown to the class on the whiteboard.  Children learn the letters that represent the sounds. They are then asked to read words and sentences with the new sounds in. Children will also practise writing the letters that represent the sounds.

Children learn to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sounds they represent. Pronounce the sounds as you would say them within a word. It is important to ensure that you (or the children) don’t add ‘uh’ onto the end, so for ‘m’ say ‘mm’ not ‘muh’ and for ‘l’ say ‘ull’ not ‘luh’. The below video gives you all 44 sounds in English.


Please click on the links below to see the sounds the children learn as part of ELS.


Phase 2 sounds Phase 3 sounds Phase 5 sounds

To support their love of reading, children will also be encouraged to choose a 'sharing book' - this is a book that may or may not be fully decodable but can be enjoyed with parents and family members as a book to read together.