Our Aims and The Early Years Framework

The main aim of the nursery is to provide a happy and caring learning environment for pre-school children.

We believe that every child should start their education in a fun and friendly way, gradually learning new skills that build self-confidence and increase awareness of the world around them.

The Areas of Learning and Development

There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in Early Years Settings.

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 friendships and thrive.

These three areas, the Prime Areas are:-
Communication and Language
Physical Development
Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Early Years Settings must also support children in four Specific Areas, through which the three Prime Areas are strengthened and applied.

The Specific Areas are:-
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design

Characteristics of Effective Learning

Playing and Exploring – Engagement
Finding out and exploring
Playing with what they know
Being willing to have a go

Active Learning – Motivation
Being involved and concentrating
Keeping trying
Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

Creating and Thinking Critically – Thinking
Having their own ideas
Making links
Choosing ways to do things

Prime Areas

Personal, Social and Emotional Development
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.

For example at The Swan Nursery we provide activities that promote emotional, spiritual and social development alongside intellectual development. We provide positive images in our books and displays that will challenge children's thinking. There are opportunities for children to work alone and in small and large groups, along with activities which are imaginative and enjoyable.

The children learn to interact with others by sharing things such as a smile, a greeting and our toys. We provide opportunities and activities for the children to learn how to play, how to choose and also how to co-operate with each other.

All staff act as positive role models and encourage the children in a positive way. We warmly welcome our parents/carers and families into Nursery to share activities and experiences.


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, space and measures.

For example at The Swan Nursery we ensure that all activities are enjoyable and imaginative. We use number rhymes as a regular part of the children's routine to introduce them to number names and encourage them to participate in action rhymes.

We provide a number rich environment with number cards displayed inside and outside at children height.

We encourage the children to use mathematical language in their play through water and sand activities, small world toys, construction play as well as table top and floor games, also to sort, count, compare measure and solve problems whilst engaged in self chosen activities.

Role play and cooking activities provide the children with ideal opportunities to practise what they have learnt.

Understanding the World
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.

For example at The Swan Nursery we provide lots of opportunities for the children to talk about themselves, their families and those that are important in their lives.

We provide activities that cover the environment, holidays and different cultural festivals. We identify similarities and differences between ourselves and other people and learn to understand growth and change.

We have a wonderful outside area where the children can plant seeds and watch them grow, sometimes enjoying our produce at snack time too. We enjoy the natural world with plenty of time to explore and investigate what is happening in our garden environment.

We provide opportunities to use technology ranging from mechanical toys, such as the Be-bot and Snoring dog as well as cameras and computers using age appropriate software.

Expressive Arts and Design
Expressive arts and design involves the 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.

For example at The Swan Nursery we provide activities that allow children to express their creative skills. The children are able to communicate their ideas, thoughts and feelings by being provided with a wide range of materials, suitable tools, imaginative play, movement, designing and making activities and a variety of songs and musical instruments.

We have created an environment where the children can play imaginatively, giving those invaluable foundations for creative expression.


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

For example at The Swan Nursery we offer a wide range of role play opportunities to encourage children to interact and communicate with each other. The children enjoy listening to and using spoken language in their everyday play and learning.

We have lots of small group time, including a sit down snack time where children are encouraged to listen to others and respond appropriately. We give the children opportunities to follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. We talk about the past and present events, as well as encouraging children to talk about events that are to happen in the future.

Physical Development
Physical Development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive, to develop their co-operation, control and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity as well as the importance to make healthy choices in relation to food.

For example at The Swan Nursery we offer free flow and free choice, we have two garden areas, the front garden which offers two wheel, three wheel and balance bikes as well as other pedal vehicles, large chalk boards and a sand pit. In the back garden there are small and large climbing frames, vegetable and digging areas as well as a large grassed area for running, den-building, ball skills and investigation.

We provide a wide range of construction materials to help develop children's fine motor skills, along with threading, cutting, wood work and play dough tools, puzzles as well as writing and drawing activities to development hand/eye co-ordination skills. Music and movement sessions are organised each day.

We encourage the children to know the importance of a healthy diet and promote this by serving healthy snacks, sometimes inviting the children to help make snacks, such as fruit salad, dips and vegetables. We talk to the children about ways to keep safe.

Working alongside our parents we encourage the children to manage their own hygiene and personal needs including dressing and going to the toilet independently.

Specific Areas

Literacy Development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a range of reading materials, such as books, poems and other written materials to ignite their interest.

For example at The Swan Nursery we provide activities for the children to hear and say initial and final sounds in words, along with linking sounds to letters and naming and sounding the letters of the alphabet.

We play letter/drawing/writing games at small group time, as well as encouraging children to listen to stories with increasing attention and recall events that have happened within the story. We also give the children opportunity to look at books independently so they gain the understanding of how to hold a book as well as turn the pages correctly.

There is always mark making materials available inside and outside and we encourage the children to use their phonic knowledge to write simple, regular words.