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Curriculum overview

At Netherton Park Nursery School children's learning is very carefully planned in line with the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance, to include experiences and opportunities that address all seven areas of learning.


There are 7 areas of Learning. 3 Prime areas and 4 specific areas.


Prime Areas


Personal, Social and Emotional Development

This helps children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others. This also involves developing social skills and learning how to manage their feelings.


Physical Development

This involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement.


Communication and Language Development

Involves giving children the opportunity 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.


Specific Areas



Involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children need access to a range of reading materials to ignite their interest.



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.


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 providing 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.



We provide a rich and broad range of learning opportunities that are developed and carefully planned based upon children's interests and provocations introduced by the adults.  We plan the learning environments (both indoor and outside) with opportunities for learning and then carefully observe each child's interactions and responses, noticing the way they encounter the resources, environment and each other.  


This then leads to a series of professional questions about how we may extend the interests of the children and develop their skills as 'communicators'.  Our careful observations of each child are used to support staff professional judgements and knowledge of child development, so that we may make a professional judgement about each child's skills and capabilities.


Observations are shared with parents via our online learning journal 'Tapestry', many parents contribute their feedback as well as uploading observations form home too.  


Children are given time and space to 'think' and work can take place over extended periods of time.  We are very clear about how children learn and support parents and children in recognising the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning.


Ofsted definition of teaching (2015) 
"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. It takes account of the equipment they provide and the attention to the physical environment as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations. Integral to teaching is how practitioners assess what children know, understand and can do as well as take account of their interests and dispositions to learning (characteristics of effective learning), and use this information to plan children’s next steps in learning and monitor their progress."  



Curriculum Development Team

Our Curriculum Development Team is made up of the senior staff from across the school.  Each area of learning is given priority with a focussed action plan in place.  The team is led by Alison, they meet termly to discuss progress against targets and identify priorities. The 7 areas of the curriculum are led by Alison and Verony with senior staff in a supporting role as curriculum assistants.

Curriculum Development Team



We use a range of different strategies to support children with their storytelling skills.


Talk 4 Writing


We support the children to learn a range of traditional stories, so over time the children can internalise the imaginative world as well as language patterns.  When we learn a story we do not only read it once or twice we do it over and over for a period of time approx. 3 weeks.   We do not just read the story, we add actions, watch the story on the whiteboard, act it out, draw story maps, use props to re-tell and even make changes to it.  Children are then able to make up new stories by calling upon an imaginative bank of ideas plus language patterns and increased vocabulary.



Helicopter Stories 

Helicopter Stories supports children with creating their own stories.  The adult scribes the child's exact words and children act out the stories—bringing every child’s story to life!



Tales Toolkit

This approach enables and supports children with creating and structuring their own stories. Children are introduced to the Tales Toolkit structure: Character, Setting, Problem and Solution.




Outdoor learning environments

We place a very high priority on providing high quality learning opportunities for all children in our outdoor learning environments.  Children have the opportunity to play and learn outside for a large portion of their session - whatever the weather!!!  We provide the coats and wellies for the children to wear.


Woodland Area

At Netherton Park Nursery School we are very lucky to have a woodland area within our grounds.  Children will be involved in hands-on learning, developing skills such as risk taking, perseverance and independence.

These are the foundations that children need to learn successfully within the classroom.


Children will experience a range of different learning opportunities and activities which will support them in their learning and development.  These include: using tools, making dens, following trails and going on scavenger hunts, identifying birds, trees and minibeasts.

Part of this is teaching children about risks and how to evaluate them.  Activities are introduced when the staff feel the children in the group are ready.  We teach them to be actively responsible for themselves, their choices and their actions.

From our outdoor forest sessions we want all children to become independent, reflective and inquisitive explorers, developing confidence, self-esteem and to be able to show respect for others and the natural world.