Year Groups

Nursery & Reception


Across Early Years we ensure there is a balance of adult led and child-initiated activities across the day. Although much of the time is spent with children self-selecting tasks, the interaction between the adult and child is essential as the adult’s response to children builds understanding and therefore guides new learning. Learning through play is an important part of our classrooms. We believe children learn best from activities and from experiences that interest and inspire them. Using children’s interests as a starting point, we provide them with stimulating, active play experiences in which they can explore and develop their learning to help them make sense of the world. They have opportunities through their play to think creatively and critically alongside other children as well as on their own. They are able to practise skills, build upon and revisit prior learning and experience at their own level and pace. We believe it is important that adults take an active role in child-initiated play through observing, modelling, facilitating and extending their play. Getting the balance right between child-initiated play and adult-led activities is very important to us. We include direct, carefully planned, adult- led activities for children in the form of structured adult-led teaching and adult-led group activities. These are particularly important in helping children to learn specific skills and knowledge and it is often through children’s play that we see how much of this learning children have understood and taken on. 

The 'learning through play' approach helps to:

• develop the fundamental skills of literacy, numeracy and oral communication

 • provide rich and varied contexts for developing skills such as observing, organising, recording, interpreting and predicting

 • promote positive attitudes to school and to learning

• provide opportunities to learn in a practical way

• provide opportunities for developing movement and manipulative skills

 • develop natural curiosity and stimulates imagination

 • provide opportunities for exploration, investigation, problem solving and decision-making

• provide opportunities to develop knowledge, understanding and skills through a range of contexts spanning all subjects in the curriculum


"Teaching should not be taken to imply a "top down" or formal way of working. It is a broad term which 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."



Year 1


In Year 1, the children are introduced to a more formal approach to teaching through whole class and small group teaching, while still having the opportunity to learn through play during Discovery Time. Alongside a formal classroom, Year 1 has a zoned Discovery room which encourages independent and active learning, enabling children to access learning opportunities according to their individual learning styles. Each day, the children have short, direct, adult-led teaching slots for subject areas; these are timetabled at the beginning and end of morning or afternoon sessions so that there are still longer periods, where children can get deeply involved in their play – applying their literacy and maths skills where appropriate, in order to further their learning.

Play provides opportunities for children to experience learning in a meaningful and purposeful way. It is a means by which children can develop the skills and capabilities to be effective learners. Play provides a context for children to access the content of the curriculum. Within the continuous provision, the children engage in a child-led approach to play as well as being able to choose from adult-led challenges. These challenges consist of independent activities initiated by the teacher, linked to curriculum coverage and progression. Every day, children are given the opportunity to manage information, solve problems and make decisions and connections, be creative, self-manage, work with others and value others ideas, resulting in independent and resilient children.

During the academic year, the children are gradually introduced to a more formal approach to teaching so as to ensure they are ready to move into Year 2. Both the timetable and the environment are constantly reviewed in order to maximise learning and ensure they achieve the expected outcome for the end of Year 1.






Emotional Wellbeing Eco Schools Award Attachment and Trauma Accreditation Programme Award

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