The Prime Areas of Learning

In the Nursery we use the Development Matters document as a basis for extending children’s skills and learning.

Communication and Language;

We give children the opportunity to have experience in a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations. Activities include:

  • Sharing rhymes, books and stories.
  • Discussions
  • Model being a listener by listening to the children when they are doing something they are interested in.
  • Introducing new language
  • We use home languages where ever appropriate to greet and say farewell.
  • Model and explain to the children why it is important to pay attention when others are speaking.
  • Listening to stories and participating in small group activities relating to the stories.
  • Choosing stories with repeated refrains – The Hairy Toe, Each Peach Pear Plum, Shark in the Park, We’re Going On a Bear Hunt.
  • Responding to simple instructions eg selecting or putting away objects
  • Giving children ‘thinking time’ waiting for them to think about what they want to say and put their thoughts into words
  • Introducing new words in the context of play and activities when the children are engaged in small world and role play.

Physical Development

We create opportunities for young children to be active and interactive to develop their control and movement by creating a variety of opportunities including:

  • Balancing
  • Bat and ball games
  • Catching and throwing
  • Opportunities to use the Bicycles
  • Doing ‘Animal movements’ such as slithering, shuffling, rolling, crawling
  • Dancing

We create opportunities for children to develop their co-ordination and fine motor skills in a variety of fun and messy ways, activities include:

  • Filling and pouring with water and sand, lentils, flour, salt.
  • Fine motor opportunities – hammer and nails, to do up buttons on coats, pour a drink, making necklaces using beads or pasta for threading, using tweezers.
  • Mark-making opportunities – tray of salt allowing the children to use finger, comb, back of a pencil, paint brush and water outside, chunky chalks on the floor, finger painting, painting, stamps, printing..
  • Modeling the correct way to hold a writing tool
  • Drawing lines and circles using gross motor movements.
  • Creating large drawings using chunky chalks on walls and floor.
  • Opportunities to use one-handed tools and equipment.
  • Making resources accessible at child height to ensure that they can select and use activities and resources independently with a little help.
  • Reminding children to go to the toilet when distracted in an activity
  • Talking with children about the importance of washing hands and using visual reminders showing a step by step approach
  • Put arms into open-fronted coat.
  • Pull up own trousers
  • Pull up zipper once it is fastened.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

We support the children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others. The children are continually developing their social skills and during their time in the Nursery begin to learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviours in different environments and to have confidence in their own abilities.


  • Encourage the children to build up a role play activity with other children.
  • Support children in developing positive relationships by challenging negative comments and actions towards either peers or adults.
  • Help children understand the feelings of others by labeling emotions such as sadness, happiness, lonely, scared or cross. This is done through using an interactive visual display or just by communicating through speech.
  • Encourage the children to choose play with a variety of friends.
  • Create a strong relationship between main carer and the child to ensure a smooth transition when separating.

The Specific Areas of Learning


In Literacy we encourage and allow children access to a wide range of reading materials such as books, poems, factual books and listening to stories on the CD player.


  • Provide rhyming books and activities for the children to access
  • Engage the children in fun rhyming games
  • Read stories to the children at every given opportunity
  • Use a range of visual aids and story props to engage all children and those who are EAL.
  • Create ‘child made’ books
  • Give opportunities to talk about the characters in the stories
  • Model reading to the children showing them how to hold and turn pages in a book.
  • Scribe the meanings the children give to their marks when they draw and paint
  • Support children to recognise their own name (self registering) and writing their own name
  • Model writing for a purpose when in role play: shopping lists, notes, registers.


Our approach to Mathematics allows children to develop and improve their skills in

  • Counting,
  • Understanding and using numbers
  • Recognizing numerals.
  • Recognising shapes and spaces.

We do this through:

  • Involving the children in activities where there is a reason for them to count, role play, sharing
  • Encouraging the children to mark make when thinking of numbers
  • Creating opportunities for children to separate objects into unequal groups and equal groups.
  • Using pictures, stories, objects to illustrate counting songs
  • Modelling counting children, toys, random objects, jumps, claps, steps
  • Counting songs – 5 little Monkeys, 5 little ducks, 1,2,3,4,5
  • Using Number pots, number cards and matching the correct amount of teddies, cars to the correct number
  • Introducing a new shape each week (triangle, square, circle, rectangle, oval)
  • Encouraging the children to find objects and talking about the shape they see in the classroom and the environment
  • Providing a variety of construction activities including duplo, lego, stickle bricks, mobilo
  • Demonstrating the language for shape in play ‘sphere’, ‘shape’, ‘box’, ‘in’, ‘on’, ‘inside’, ‘under’, ‘long’, ‘longer’, ‘longest’, ‘short’, shorter’, ‘shortest’, ‘heavy’, ‘light’, ‘full’ and ’empty’.

Expressive Arts and Design

This curriculum area involves enabling the 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, feelings through dance, music, art, role-play and design and technology.

Understanding the World

We guide the children to make sense of the physical world in which they live in and their community. We give our children the opportunity to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

We achieve this though

  • Providing a variety of role play areas – doctor’s surgery, vets, builders’ site
  • Using small world characters
  • Celebrate religious festivals from different cultures
  • Encouraging children to talk about their own home
  • Using the children’s special books to provide a way of preserving special memories and events in their lives.
  • Visual display of landmarks around the local area set in the classroom
  • Growing potatoes, peas, sunflowers, strawberries and cress with the children, observing and talking about the different stages of growth
  • Allowing opportunities for the children to play outside in all weathers when it’s frosty, icy, and snowy and providing magnifiers.
  • Observing mini-beasts outside and using spider web catchers, worm containers to look closely at them
  • Looking after and observing the butterfly cycle
  • Creating opportunities for visual displays to talk about the seasons – winter, autumn, spring and summer
  • Introducing vocabulary to enable children to talk about their observations and to ask questions
  • Teaching skills and knowledge when completing practical activities with the children when cooking and learning about the characteristics of liquids and solids.

Characteristics of Effective Learning

There are three characteristics of effective learning and every week children are involved in the key areas of

  • Playing and exploring
  • Active learning
  • and
  • Creating and critical thinking.