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3. Learning & Teaching


We offer children a wide range of experiences, both inside and in the garden. These will nurture their all-round development and lay a solid foundation for later learning in primary school. This time in a child’s schooling is part of the Early Years Foundation Stage which begins at the age of three and continues until the end of the reception class in their next school. You are welcome to read the illustrated copies of our curriculum policies. You will find these on the parents’ bookshelves. In brief, our curriculum includes:


Personal, social and emotional development – self-confidence, independence, forming relationships, collaborating, respect for others and the environment, positive attitudes towards learning, concentration


Communication, Language and literacy –speaking and listening, re-telling and inventing stories, a love of books, stories and poems, awareness of print, writing, the names and sounds of letters


Mathematical development – counting, calculating, recognising numerals, shape, space and measurement, pattern, problem solving


Understanding of the world – observing, questioning and experimenting, testing and interpreting through work on processes, forces and the living world, constructing, designing, planning, using tools and materials, ICT, a sense of history and a sense of place, learning about religions


Physical development – control of large muscle movements through running, climbing, balancing, kicking, throwing; developing fine manipulative control through using tools, scissors, brushes; learning to take care of yourself and about what you need to do and eat to stay healthy and safe, facing challenges


Expressive arts & design - drawing, painting, making models, using clay/dough, appreciating the work of others, sewing, music, dance, imaginative and fantasy play



Young children learn in a variety of ways: through experimenting, watching, practising, listening, talking, playing. They learn in a variety of social situations: alone, in pairs, in larger groups. Above all, they learn at their own pace, building on knowledge and skills already developed.

Our teaching methods and the organisation of the day and equipment are designed to meet these learning needs.

We have two classrooms and a large garden, each with areas containing different sorts of equipment and resources to provide opportunities for learning each part of the curriculum. Almost all equipment is stored so that children can help themselves to what they need. Learning to tidy up after yourself is an important part of the nursery experience.


Between 9.00 and 11.00 in the mornings and between 12.45 and 3.00 in the afternoons, children are free to play in either of the classrooms and the garden.


During these periods, staff are timetabled to work in turn in different areas of the nursery and with different children.

Staff are constantly observing children. These observations form part of a child’s Record of Development and enable us to make plans for the child at our daily and weekly planning/evaluation meetings. For example, if we observe that a child loves imaginative play but rarely goes into the graphics area, we would encourage her/him to write as part of role play.


Between 11.00 and 11.10 and again between 3.00 and 3.10, we tidy up. Then at 11.15 and 3.15 the children are divided into three groups according to age and experience for story, singing and circle time.



We keep a file for each child. This contains background information, your comments on your child’s development taken at the home visit and an on-going collection of observations about all aspects of your child’s learning over their time at nursery. We also collect samples of children’s work and photos of them playing in a range of contexts which we put in a portfolio. We use the evidence in the record and portfolio to assess children’s development at regular intervals:


  1. At the end of your child’s first term we will give you a written review of their progress including how they settled in, what they like doing and who they play with. We will also decide on a learning priority for the following half term. You will be invited to contribute to this.
  2. From then on, we assess children’s progress at the end of every term and give you a copy of that review.
  3. Before she/he goes to Primary School we complete a transfer record to inform the new school of your child’s development. You will get a copy of this.


All staff contribute to the records and portfolios; the key worker is responsible for co-ordinating them, in partnership with the class teacher. You are welcome to see your child’s record at any time.


Some children have more difficulty than others in learning. Usually we can meet children’s extra needs from our own resources. We plan how best to do this together with you. Occasionally we might need to ask for another professional’s advice such as a Speech and Language Therapist or the school’s Educational Psychologist. See also Special Educational Needs Policy.