At Acacia Nursery we teach phonics daily. Children will experience phase 1 activities to support their early phonic awareness and communication and language development. Phases 2 and 3 will be taught as and when children are ready, based on our formative and summative assessments.


Acacia Nursery follows the Primary National Strategy 'Letters and Sounds' Principles for teaching high quality phonics. Please find the full document here.


 These are some of the Phase 1 activities enjoyed by children in the nursery:


Clapping sounds

Think of words using the letters ‘s, a, t, p, i, n’ (e.g. sat, pin, nip, pat, tap, pit, pip) and sound them out, clapping each phoneme with the children in unison, then blend the phonemes to make the whole word orally.



Rhyming pairs

In a pairs game, use pictures of objects with names that rhyme. The children take it in turns to turn two cards over and keep them if the pictures are a rhyming pair. If they are not a rhyming pair, the cards are turned face down again and the other person has a turn. Start with a small core set of words that can then be extended.

The children need to be familiar with the rhyming word families before they can use them in a game – spend time looking at the pictures and talking about the pairs.



Rhyming bingo

Give each child in a small group a set of three pictures of objects with rhyming names. (Such pictures are readily available commercially.) Hide in a bag a set of pictures or objects matching the pictures you have given to the children.

The children take turns to draw out of the bag one object or picture at a time. Invite the children to call out when they see an object or picture that rhymes with theirs and to collect it from the child who has drawn it from the bag.

After each rhyming set is completed chant together and list the rhyming names. As you name objects give emphasis to the rhyming pattern.



Rhyming soup

Ask a small group to sit in a circle so they can see a selection of rhyming objects (e.g.
 rat, hat, cat) placed on the oor. Use a bowl and spoon as props to act out the song. Invite the children, in turn, to choose an object to put into the soup and place it in the bowl. After each turn, stir the soup and sing the following song to recite the growing list of things that end up in the soup.

Sing the rst part of the song to the tune of ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’:

I’m making lots of silly soup
 I’m making soup that’s silly
 I’m going to cook it in the fridge
 To make it nice and chilly
 In goes... a fox... a box... some socks...



Learning songs and rhymes

Make sure that singing and rhyming activities are part of the daily routine in small-group time and that extracts are repeated incidentally as events occur (e.g. It’s raining, it’s pouring as the children get ready to go outdoors in wet weather). Play with rhyming words throughout the course of the day and have fun with them. Sing or chant nursery rhymes and encourage the children to move in an appropriate way (e.g. rock gently to the beat of ‘See Saw Marjorie Daw’, march to the beat of ‘Tom, Tom the Piper’s Son’ and ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’, skip to the beat of ‘Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush’).



Animal sounds

Provide a variety of animal puppets or toys and a range of instruments. Encourage the children to play with the instruments and the animals. Discuss matching sounds to the animals. Give a choice of two instruments to represent a child’s chosen animal and ask the children to choose which sound is the better t: Which one sounds most like the mouse? What do you think, David?



Describe and nd it

Set up a model farmyard. Describe one of the animals but do not tell the children its name. Say, for example: This animal has horns, four legs and a tail. Ask them to say which animal it is. Ask them to make the noise the animal might make. When they are familiar with the game let individual children take the part of the adult and describe the animal for the others to name.

This activity can be repeated with other sets of objects such as zoo animals, toy sets based on transport (e.g. aeroplane, car, train, bus, boat) and musical instruments. It can be made more challenging by introducing sets of random objects to describe and name.



Teddy is lost in the jungle

One child (the rescuer) is taken aside while a teddy bear is hidden somewhere in the room. Tell the other children they are going to guide the rescuer to the teddy by singing louder as the rescuer gets closer to, or quietly as the rescuer moves further away from the teddy. Alternatively lead the children in singing a familiar song, rhyme or jingle, speeding up and slowing down to guide the rescuer.



Mrs Browning has a box

Turn a box on its side with the opening facing away from the children. One by one place between four and six familiar noisy items (e.g. a set of keys, crisp packet, squeaky toy) into the box, pausing to name them and demonstrate the sound each one makes.

Sing to the tune of ‘Old MacDonald’ but using your own name or one of the children’s:

Mrs...has a box ee i ee i o
 And in that box she has a...
 Stop. Gesture and ask the children to listen.

Handle one of the objects in the box, out of sight, to make a noise. The children take it in turns to guess what is making the sound. Continue the song but imitating the sound using your voice.

With a zzz zzz here and a zzz zzz there...

Allow the children to take a turn at making a noise from inside the box and use their names as you sing.



Phase 2 Letter sounds are taught in the following letter progression sequence:

Set 1: s a t p

Set 2: i n m d

Set 3: g o c k

Set 4: ck e u r

Set 5: h b f (ff) l (ll) ss




Acacia Nursery

Cecil Road



E11 3HF



Main Telephone:

020 8558 4444



Chief Executive - Maureen Okoye

Executive Principal –

Head of School – David Livie



School hours

Office Hours

8.30am - 4.30pm