Skip to content ↓

Teaching and Learning


Our Curriculum

The curriculum is everything we want the children to learn and experience while they are with us in preschool.

Essentially, the curriculum provides the new skills and new knowledge that we intend the children to gain during their time with us, and take with them on their onward journey to primary school.

Our Intent

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of your child from birth to 5 years old, and we have followed these principles when designing our curriculum.  Further information on EYFS can be found in ‘What to expect in the Early Years Foundation Stage: A Guide for Parents’.

What we want the children to learn and how we support this to happen, has been designed to reflect the unique character of our setting and our children, and at the heart of our curriculum intent, are the 10 Curriculum Goals . . .


Confident communicators

To become a confident communicator who can listen carefully in different situations, speak with friends and adults, ask questions, ask for help and use new vocabulary to explain ideas and feelings.

Fantastic Friends

To become a fantastic friend who can be kind, caring and helpful, show empathy and respect to others, play co-operatively, share and negotiate whilst considering others’ ideas and feelings.

Independent Individuals

To become an independent individual who can follow the Preschool rules, have simple goals and persevere to achieve them and select resources. Manage their own personal needs, look after belongings, toileting, and manage dressing, undressing and shoes.

Feelings Fanatics

To become a feelings fanatic, who can recognise, name and start to regulate their feelings, and begin to empathise with the feelings and needs of others. To talk about and describe their feelings and emotions, and begin to use strategies to calm or regulate their own feelings and emotions.

Exceptional Explorers

To become an Exceptional Explorer who can show curiosity about the world around them such as growing, life cycles and community and talk about what they see, using a wide vocabulary. Explore how things work, and why things happen, have “ I wonder . . .” thinking.

Brilliant Bookworms

To become a brilliant bookworm who can show a love for stories, illustrations and books, use new vocabulary to talk about what has been read to them.

Masters of Maths

To become a Maths Master! who has a deep understanding of the ‘fiveness’, who can notice and then recognise shapes and numbers in the environment and enjoys using shapes and numbers in play. Begin to compare quantities, notice simple patterns, count to and objects to 10.

‘Wow’ Writers

To become a Wow Writer, who enjoys making marks with a range of media in fun ways. Make marks for a reason like, ticking off a shopping list, marking children on a register. Wanting and enjoying forming letters of their own name.

Phoneme Fiends

To become phoneme fiends who enjoy listening to letter sounds. Children begin to hear, identify distinguish, articulate, and blend words and sounds.

Proud performers

To become a proud performer, who enjoys singing songs and nursery rhymes, dancing, acting out stories and exploring musical instruments. Build confidence to perform for an audience in our preschool plays, sports days and musical events.


To achieve these goals, children must experience lots of smaller blocks of learning, achieving the bigger goals requires lots of strands of children’s learning and development coming together. As you can imagine, each goal requires lots and lots of individual learning experiences and activities, as well as lots of repetition and variation to really make sure that learning takes place.

We support children individually to make their own progress through the milestones on the journey to each goal. We recognise that what we consider strong progress may look different for each child, but all children will be progressing through the same curriculum; all children will be on the same journey.

Our Teaching

Ofsted definition of teaching:

‘Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term that covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities, communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment that adults provide and the attention given to the physical environment, as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations.’  

Quality teaching in the early years starts with strong, safe, nurturing relationships. It is crucial that young children feel safe and secure for them to learn and develop. Children become more independent when they have strong and loving relationships to fall back on. They also become better at bouncing back and trying again if they find something hard, or get upset.

Through play, conversation and sharing stories, these nurturing relationships also support children to develop their communication and language; the foundation of children’s thinking and learning. Children who are good communicators at five are most likely to be successful learners throughout their time in school.

During the Preschool day it is important to keep a balance between Independent Play, Adult Guided Play, and Direct Teaching.

Independent Play:  Children need uninterrupted time to choose their own play and make friends. Our children spend lots of time engaged in self-directed play and exploration, this play and exploration is well resourced and supported by practitioners to ensure that children are gaining new skills and knowledge. Adults will often join in, in a sensitive way, to help the children to learn whilst they are playing. We do not intend for independent play and exploration to have an immediate and fixed outcome, rather we are mindful of the overall outcomes and curriculum goals and we support children to reach this over time. Adults will think about the important knowledge children need and how they can learn this whilst they are playing.

Adult Guided Play:  Children also need times when adults plan and guide their play. We provide learning opportunities and activities that children can choose to access which also have a clear learning focus and intent. Children can access this independently or with adult support, to explore the learning objective together. This might be counting or taking a closer look at the numbers 1-5.

Direct Teaching: Sometimes adults work directly with children to teach them new things. This could include learning to use scissors, or ride a bike, or write some of the letters of their name, or follow a recipe to make cupcakes or playdoh!

Our Daily Routine

Our daily routine goes hand in hand with delivering the curriculum.  If the curriculum is ‘Everything we want the children to learn,’ then what happens during each day will dictate exactly that.

We use the structure of our day so that literally every moment is an opportunity for learning!

Our daily routine recognises the key moments during the school day, during which we can promote these learning opportunities. For example; our welly walks give children the opportunity to learn to put their coats on by themselves, our feelings check in supports children to name and talk about their feelings; register time, snack time and our daily book vote, all provide rich opportunities for looking at counting, recognising number, and comparing quantities . . . the list goes on and on.

Within the daily routine we also plan structured activities and provide well-resourced provision for adult guided play, based around our Core Books each half-term. Within this provision we support children to make their own progress towards their individual targets.

The final key component of our daily routine, is our daily delivery of the Little Wandle Foundation Phonics Programme and Squiggle and Wiggle Early Writing Programme. More information about both these programmes, as well as our Core Books can be found in the Curriculum section of the website.


Morning Session 9.15-12.15am

9.15am                Children Arrive

9.30am                Feelings Check in and Register

9.40am                Resourced Provision and Activities linked to the Core Books (40 mins)

10.20am             Tidy Up Time

10.30am             Core Nursery Rhyme Time Group Activity

10.40am             Younger Children Snack

                                 Older Children Letters and Sounds: Tuning into Sound Activties

10.55am             Older Children Snack

                                 Younger Children: Whiteboard Maths

11.10am             Resourced Provision and Activities linked to the Core Books  (50 mins)

11.55am             Tidy Up Time

12.05pm             Core Story Time

12.15pm             End of Session/Children Collected


Afternoon Session 12.15pm- 3.15pm

12.15pm             Register Time

12.20pm             Singing and Hand Washing

12.30pm             Lunch Time

1.00pm               Tidy Up and Free Play

1.20pm                Direct Teaching and Resourced Provision/Activities linked to the Core Books (1 hour)

2.30pm               Tidy Up Time

2.40pm               Squiggle and Wiggle Early Writing Activity

2.50pm               Tables Cleaned

2.55pm               Daily Book Vote/Story Time

3.10pm               Coats and Bags

3.15pm               Home Time

Our Core Books

“It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading”. Development Matters 2021

“The number of books your child has encountered by the age of six is a positive predictor of their reading ability two years later.”

To truly support our children to develop a deep love of reading and stories we focus our learning around 3-4 key stories each half term. By connecting children’s wider learning and development back to these stories, children develop their awareness and understanding of the events, characters, and themes, as well as providing a rich range of vocabulary and language structures.

Our core texts may lean towards different topics across the year, such as growing vegetables in the summer, or our homes and families at the start of the year, but our learning activities grow from the book, rather than the topic.

Just a few of our key stories have included:

  Click here to learn more about the Little Wandle Foundation for a Love of Reading.

Our Learning Programmes


Little Wandle Foundation Phonics

“Reading floats on a sea of talk”.  James Britton.

Children cannot read if they cannot speak.  In Preschool, it is tempting to get children to learn to read early, but we must remember that the best foundations for learning to read are built through talking, songs and rhymes, and sharing books.

Our setting has chosen to use the Little Wandle Foundations for Phonics programme to give every child the best possible start to their reading journey, and we hope that the following information will explain a bit more about what phonics teaching looks like in preschool, and how it is preparing your child for their onward journey in reception.

Our job in Preschool is to get children ready for their phonics learning in reception.

So, what is phonics?

Phonics is making connections between the sounds (phonemes) of our spoken words and the letters that are used to write them down (graphemes).

At Preschool we are helping our children to learn and practice the skills they will need to make connections between sounds and letters, formal phonics teaching does not start until reception.

So, what do we do to get our children ready for phonics learning in reception?

  • We do help children recognise what a phoneme is, remember this is the sound.
  • We do not teach children to recognise the letters that are used to write them down.

The Little Wandle Foundations for Phonics Programme has 2 key focuses, to help children tune into the phonemes (letter sounds).

  • Rhyme Time Activities - which we carry out with the whole group.
  • Tuning into Sounds – which we carry out with children in their final preschool year.

Rhyme Time Activities

Songs and rhymes are a great way to increase children's awareness of rhyming, which is a key part of phonological awareness. What's more, research has shown that children who learn nursery rhymes with their caregivers go on to become better readers.

In Preschool as well as singing rhymes regularly, we look on 3-4 core rhyme each half-term, and we deliver daily activities connected to our core rhyme which focus on developing key listening skills, recognising syllables, and enjoying rhymes and alliteration.

Tuning into Sounds

For children to learn anything well, they need to listen. As you can imagine, this is particularly true for learning to hear sounds!

With our children in their final preschool year, we plan daily activities where we play listening games to really focus on hearing individual phonemes sounds, we focus on a different group of phoneme sounds each half-term.

We develop children’s phonemic awareness by focusing on the first sound (or initial sound) in words. One way to do this is by playing alliteration games. Alliteration is when words start with the same sound, for example, the big blue boat or the huge hungry horse. Alliteration helps children hear the different sounds in words and can be a lot of fun! 

We also look at oral blending games. Oral blending is when we get children to put sounds together in their heads to make a word, for example, b – u – s . . . bus.

When children learn to read, they learn to do just this, to read the individual sounds and blend them together. Oral blending is like the dress rehearsal for reading. It is such an important skill that we do lots of practice in preschool and would love you to practice at home.

“Can you t – a – p your tummy?”

“Put on your c – oa - t and we can go see grandma!”

“Brush your t-ee-th and then we can read a story together”

Squiggle & Wiggle Early Writing

“Repeated movements help to strengthen the neural pathways that run between the brain and the body”.  Sally Goddard Blythe.

Squiggle is an exciting music and movement programme that supports children to develop the skills they need for early writing. During squiggle sessions children are combining the use of large and small body movements to develop and practice these skills. Most importantly we are having fun, and our daily sessions give us a good excuse to turn up the music, anything from Abba to Rizzle Kicks! 

Essentially the children learn the key movements for writing in a simple ‘dance’ and immediately after we draw the ‘dance’, either with pens and pencils, or by sensory mark-making in shaving foam or paint. Our dance might focus on up, down, side-to-side movements which help children to develop the necessary skills to draw make marks such as I, l or t.  We might focus on making circles, which helps to build children’s foundations for c, o, a  and d, or even ‘The Hump’ for m, n, r and u.

Just like letters and sounds, we do not teach the written letter, we just practice the movements so children are ready for formal teaching in reception.

Click on the links below to see YouTube videos of Squiggle and Wiggle in action:

Wellcomm Speech & Language Screening

Wellcomm is a toolkit developed by the NHS and Speech and Language professionals to support children’s speech and language in the early years.

Thanks to generous funding from the Chelford Educational Trust, we have been able to purchase this programme and train staff to deliver the screening and interventions.

Young children's language develops rapidly, so when they experience any difficulties, the gap between them and their peers can widen rapidly too. Being about to recognise and respond early to any problems is crucial in making a difference to children’s performance, confidence and well-being. Wellcomm is beautiful in its simplicity, and we use the toolkit to screen children’s speech and language development each term, and put immediate targeted support and interventions in place where required.

If you have any questions about how we are delivering Wellcomm in our setting, or if you have any concerns around your child’s speech and language development, please speak to a member of the team.

Assessment & Reporting on Children's Progress

At every moment on every day, we are observing children during their play and interactions, and making constant informal assessments of their understanding and ability.

This assessment can best be described as ‘noticing’, we actively notice what our children can do, so that we can build on this, and guide and support them in their learning.

This noticing happens all the time. We don’t necessarily write this down, but these assessments contribute to our overall awareness and knowing.

Making these ongoing and constant observations ensures that teaching and learning is sequenced and levelled individually, to both consolidate and build on what children already know.

We respond in every moment on every day, to what we are observing and noticing. We use these assessments to support and build on children’s understanding and promote learning throughout each day, as each and every opportunity arises.

We do not believe that assessment should be time-consuming. It is so important that practitioners are able to do what they do best, and that the children have someone there to listen to them, play with them, build on their understanding and help them to think critically.

This means that we don’t spend a huge amount of time writing down daily observations and assessments, or producing huge amounts of paperwork.  We do not use assessments as evidence in a file, or to ‘tick off’ what children know.

What is the process for assessment and reporting?

Starting Point Assessment
Settling in Sessions

So that we are able to get to know our children and establish their starting points, keyworkers will meet with parents at the initial taster and settling-in sessions. We will discuss the child’s ‘getting to know you’ form, their likes and dislikes, any strengths or concerns around children’s development, and complete the settling in/starting point form with parents. This initial joint assessment with parents will also inform your child’s Progress Check at 2.

First Term Review Meeting

At some point towards the end of a child’s first half term with us, and around the same time that we complete their Progress Check at 2, we invite parents for a second face to face meeting. This is our first opportunity to share our observations and discuss the child’s next steps in their learning and development, and also to discuss their Progress Check at 2.

Progress Check at 2: Between a child’s second and third birthday we are legally required to carry out a Progress check, as set out in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

The purpose of the Progress Check at 2 is to review progress and identify any areas where additional support is needed, so early help can be put in place if necessary. The Progress Check at 2 will be completed during a child’s first full term with us, taking the place of the ILP for that term, and we will share this with parents.

Termly Progress Meetings

Keyworkers meet with the manager once every term, to discuss the progress of each of their key children in detail. This will be an overview across all areas of the EYFS and the curriculum. We will discuss what we know about each child, our observations and assessments, against developmental expectations and the ages and stages of the children.

We will discuss whether a child has met their current targets, or if they need more support, we discuss whether they are ‘on track’ and within expected development, or if they need further support or challenge, and then we decide on your child’s individual next steps for the term ahead across the different areas of the EYFS.

Individual Learning Plans

Following the progress meetings, we complete an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) for each child. Children’s ILPs are completed/updated every term, and give a brief observation and assessment of a child’s learning across the different areas of the EYFS, and goes on to say what each child is working towards next. We share children’s ILPs with parents each term. We generally hold a parent’s meeting for ALL parents in the Spring Term, but if parents would like to arrange a meeting to discuss their child’s ILP or any concerns or questions we are always more than happy to arrange an individual appointment at any time.

Annual Parents Meeting

In the second half of every Spring term, we again invite parents to discuss their child in a face-to-face parents meeting. At this meeting we will go through the child’s most recent ILP, how they are getting on, their next steps in more detail, and how parents can support their learning at home. This is also a chance for parents to ask questions and discuss their own observations, or express any concerns around their child’s learning and development.

Tapestry Online Learning Journal

We use Tapestry to promote our partnership with parents, and we share significant learning.

We do not use Tapestry to create a comprehensive overview of everything a child has learnt, or use it to track children’s progress.

During the preschool day our priority is always to be with the children, to listen, to play, to support