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 pre-school helps children to continue to do this by providing all of the children with interesting activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development.


There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early year’s pre-schools.  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:  Children under three are observed and assessed on the following areas.


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


Personal, social and emotional development; 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.


All children are observed and assessed on 7 areas of development the 3 prime areas and the following 4 specific areas; we do focus on the prime areas for the younger children. 


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


Mathematics; 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; 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; involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as proving 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.




areas of learning



How we approach learning, development and assessment


Learning through play

Play helps young children to learn and develop through doing and taking, which research has shown to be the means by which young children learn to think.  Our pre-school uses the revised Early Years Foundation Stage to plan and provide a range of play activities which help children to make progress in each of the areas of learning and development.  In some of these activities children decide how they will use the activity and in others, an adult take the lead in helping the children to take part in the activity.  In all activities information from the practice guidance to the revised Early Years Foundation Stage has been used to decide what equipment to provide and how to provide it.



We assess how young children are learning and developing by observing them frequently.  We use information that we gain from observations, as well as from photographs or sound recordings of the children to document their progress and where this may be leading them.  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 development.


We make periodic assessment summaries of children’s achievement based on our on-going development records.  These form part of children’s Unique Story.  We undertake these assessment summaries at regular intervals two times a year as well as times of transition, such as when a child goes onto school.  We plot children’s progress on our progress tracker and we will share with you at parents evening. 


Well-being and Involvement

We also look at your child’s well-being and involvement 3 times per year and score than 1-5.  A score of below 4 will require your key person to put in place an action plan.  We use a traffic light score 1-2 is red, 2-3 is amber and 4-5 is green.  Most children will start on a red or amber because they are settling in please do not worry most children when they start pre-school, the actions plan can be as simple as ensuring that your child’s key person greets them, or their favourite toy is out on the sessions they attend.

Working together for your children

In our pre-school we maintain the ratio of adults to children in the pre-school that is set through the EYFS Statutory Requirements.  We also have support staff and students on placement to complement these ratios.  This helps us to:

  • give time and attention to each child;

  • talk with the children about their interests and activities;

  • help children to experience and benefit from the activities we provide;

  • allow the children to explore and be adventurous in safety.