Learning and Development

Aims – we aim to:

  1. Provide a safe, caring and happy environment that promotes equality and values diversity.
  2. Work in close partnership with parents to recognise the developmental needs of each child. All children will be respected and their individuality and potential recognised, valued and promoted.
  3. Give generous care and attention because of our high ratio of qualified staff to children.
  4. Create challenging and stimulating experiences from which children will gain in confidence and self esteem and flourish.
  5. Promote social awareness and understanding to help children to respect and take pleasure in the company of others.
  6. Provide child centred educational activities and equipment to enable children to enjoy developing to their full potential.
  7. Help children to take forward their learning and development through building on what they already know and can do.
  8. Have FUN!


Children’s Development and Learning

The provision for children’s development and learning is guided by The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS, DfE 2014). The EYFS is based on the five outcomes set out by the Government in Every Child Matters and the Children Act 2004. The outcomes for every child are to:

  • Be healthy             2)   Stay safe                        3)    Enjoy and achieve

4)    Make a positive contribution            5)     Achieve economic well-being


Our setting reflects the four guiding themes and principles of the EYFS which are:

  • every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured;
  • children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
  • children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers; and
  • children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Areas of Learning and Development

All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:

Communication and language

This involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

Physical development

This involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children will be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

Personal, social and emotional development

This involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.


There are four further specific areas which include essential skills and knowledge. They grow out of the prime areas, and provide important contexts for learning. The specific areas are:



This involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children will be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.


This involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.

Understanding the world

This involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

Expressive arts and design

This involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.


For each area, the level of progress children should be expected to have attained by the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage is defined by the Early Learning Goals. These goals state what it is expected that children will know and be able to do by the end of the reception year of their education. The ‘Development Matters’ guidance sets out the likely stages of progress a child makes along their learning journey towards the early learning goals. Our setting has regard to these matters when we assess children and plan for their learning. A parent’s guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage can be accessed at: http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/files/2014/08/EYFS_Parents_Guide-amended.pdf


How we Provide for Development and Learning

Children start to learn about the world around them from the moment they are born. The care and education offered by our setting aims to compliment and extend children’s home lives and help children to continue to learn by providing them with interesting play activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development. Play is vital for children. We recognise that play is the medium through which children learn and develop. Children’s early learning is motivated by their enquiring minds, and the pleasure they gain from challenging experiences. The Early Years Foundation Stage highlights playing and exploring, active learning, plus creating and thinking critically as the key characteristics of effective learning that underpin all areas of learning and development. We aim to provide for the characteristics of effective learning by observing each child’s interests and how they like to learn and being clear about what we can do and provide in order to support each child to remain an effective and motivated learner. Activities are carefully differentiated to ensure that all children can build on their existing knowledge and develop their skills holistically. We place particular value on promoting the three prime areas of learning: personal, social and emotional development; communication and language and physical development as these are vital for building children’s capacity to develop and learn effectively, form successful relationships, become ready for school and thrive.

Activities on Offer

We recognise that many children learn best when they are able to follow their interests and play in an environment of their own choosing. We offer free flow play with a wide range of activities and resources which are available outdoors and indoors at every session and children are free to choose and explore. These include: sand, water, mud kitchen, painting, drawing, craft, home corner, construction, malleable materials (eg playdough), small world, music, book corner, snack bar, games, puzzles and a wide range of physical activities. We also provide adult-guided daily activities to ensure children’s holistic development. At each session we have group discussions, singing and stories. We go on regular outings and have visitors to enrich the curriculum we offer. In the summer term we offer the older children a series of forest play sessions. Children are encouraged to engage in new experiences, gain new skills and learn to work with others through a fun and practical approach.


Planning the Curriculum

Careful planning enables children to make progress towards the Early Learning Goals in each area of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Activities are planned to ensure equality of opportunity, to build on children’s interests, previous experience and achievements, respond to individual needs and to offer stimulation and challenge. Parents are kept informed about the curriculum and activities planned via weekly emails and the notice board. Ideas are also suggested to support parents to provide complimentary activities at home to reinforce learning.

Working in Partnership with Parents

We recognise that parents are the main educators of their children and that it is essential to work in close partnership with parents to ensure the best possible care and support for each child to realise their full potential. We aim to support parents in the challenging role of caring for their children through sharing our experience and offering informal advice on subjects such as potty training and through parent workshops on subjects such as promoting positive behaviour. Parents are welcome to join in at any time during sessions and we hold regular events such as Sports Day and Concerts to ensure all the family has an opportunity to be involved in the Pre School experiences of their child.


Key Person, Observation, Assessment and Records

We operate a Key Person System. Each child is allocated a key person who will observe and monitor their development and progress. We believe that parents know their children best and we ask them to contribute to assessment by sharing information about what their children like to do at home and how they as parents are supporting their child’s development. Records will be kept through ongoing observations, a Progress Check for children aged two, termly assessment summaries and a final report will be written prior to transfer to Infant school.  Through assessment and evaluation, activities can be designed to meet the needs of individual children.


Parent Consultations

We hold Parent Consultations once a term.  Parents are encouraged to meet with their child’s key person to share written observations and assessment summaries, discuss any worries or concerns and celebrate achievements. We involve parents in deciding how to move children on to the next stage of their individual learning journey. We also have an open door policy and parents are always welcome to speak to their child’s key person or the manager at any point.