Curriculum at Highfield

We believe that children learn best by actively pursuing their interests and ideas through exploratory play, supported by teaching staff who extend their learning, facilitating the child's process of creating and developing theories about the world. 

Children’s personal, social and emotional development is central to their learning and we support this through the development of positive and caring relationships. Each child has a Key Person who completes their Learning Journey.

We encourage the development of self-confidence and self-awareness and children become independent learners by choosing resources and accessing all areas of the nursery environment. We support children in managing feelings and behaviour through giving them the vocabulary to name a range of emotions and use a conflict resolution approach, where we help children learn how to find solutions to their conflicts and help support how they manage the conflict next time.

Respect for children’s rights runs through our curriculum. We are a UNICEF Rights Respecting School, teaching children about their rights and their responsibilities to themselves, to others and to the world around them and this threads through our work. It helps develop children’s acceptance of difference and diversity and supports the development of a strong moral compass. It is evident in interactions between staff and children, where staff listen to children and children show respect for each other and for adults.

We believe in child centred learning and plan for a balance of child initiated and adult led learning.

We use the Development Matters 2020 in the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance which sets out what a child is expected to learn from birth to five.

Prime areas

  • Personal Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development

Specific areas

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

We provide a rich and varied learning environment planning learning in all areas of the curriculum and allowing children to learn in a variety of ways, with a balance of child and adult initiated learning.  Learning is linked closely to our Story Curriculum.

We value learning outdoors, and believe that being outdoors has a positive impact on children's sense of well-being and on their development. We plan for learning outdoors across the curriculum and children have access to the outdoor learning environment throughout the day. All classes take part in timetabled Forest School sessions, developing self-regulation, risk management, and an understanding of the natural world.

We encourage children to take responsibility for their own learning, to be involved, as far as possible, in reviewing the way they learn, what helps them learn and what makes it difficult for them to learn.

We aim to develop the characteristics of effective learning through our teaching:

  • Finding out and exploring
  • Using what they know in their play
  • Being willing to have a go
  • Being involved and concentrating
  • Keeping on trying
  • Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
  • Having their own ideas
  • Making links
  • Choosing ways to do things 

We plan activities, experiences and provocations to meet needs identified from observation and assessment, and extend children’s learning through:

  • Planning in the moment for child initiated learning during free flow play
  • Children’s reflection on learning to develop meta-cognition
  • Quiet time with yoga and massage to develop self-regulation
  • A focus on a range of core books over the year through our Story Curriculum, so that the children develop a bank of deeply known and loved shared stories
  • Literacy & phonics using Letter and Sounds and Jolly Phonics
  • Philosophy sessions to develop deeper thinking and sustained shared thinking
  • Maths group time
  • Personal, social & emotional development and learning about our rights and responsibilities group time
  • Daily story linked to our Story Curriculum
  • Weekly Library Book exchange
  • Action songs and nursery rhymes to build up vocabulary and understanding of rhyme and rhythm
  • Regular Forest School session for every child developing self-regulation, risk management and an understanding of the natural world
  • Home loan resources to take home weekly, linked to our Story Curriculum and child’s individual need
  • Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities are supported with one to one work, intensive interactions and visual timetables. PEC’s practitioners support with PEC’s and Pre-PEC’s.
  • All staff are Makaton trained. We use Makaton to support routines, stories and nursery rhymes throughout the day.
  • Targeted small group work supports children with identified communication and language needs and children with speech delay are offered a 6 week support programme, run by a trained practitioner alongside the child’s parent. This complements any work with Speech and Language therapists.
  • A nurture group using DMP and Theraplay techniques supports those with lower emotional well-being.
  • A Developmental Movement Play group, based on Jabadao techniques supports those with lower emotional well-being and those needing to develop gross motor skills.
  • Children with EAL are supported with pre tutoring and small group work. EAL children are offered the option to take part in a 6 week language development programme with a trained practitioner and their parent, based on the ORIM making it real project.

More able children are supported through a phonics extension group and children eligible for Early Years Pupil Premium receive targeted support where needed.

Outdoor/Indoor Play

At Highfield this is a priority; Young children need to feel safe and secure and they also need to be motivated. Children need to have access to a stimulating learning environment which will encourage them to explore, investigate and learn through first hand experience. We believe it is essential to view the outdoor and indoor area as one learning environment. Therefore the children have opportunities for uninterrupted play and to select activities both indoors and out. Many of the children choose to play outside and opportunities are replicated in and out. Children create, do number work, write and investigate across the environment.   It is essential that they are comfortable and we ask that you choose play clothing suitable for both indoors and outside.

When the children are playing they may get messy but this is how they learn!

Curriculum Leaflets

We have a wealth of information available at nursery on each of the curriculum areas.  If you would like any information on any part of the curriculum, please ask your child's teacher.

The following ideas are to help you support your child’s learning whilst at home:

Ideas to support Communication, Language and Literacy at home:

  • Looking at print in the environment – from road signs to shampoo bottles.  Your child can then see that print is purposeful and conveys meaning.
  • Looking at books together; including non-fiction books about topics that interest your child.  If they are ready, encourage your child to ‘read’ the story – encouraging them to tell you what is happening from the pictures.
  • Make a book together:  Take photographs and make a scrap book of a special event or holiday.  You could also make an alphabet scrap book

Ideas to support Mathematics at home:

  • Singing number rhymes such as Five Currant Buns, Five Little Ducks or Ten Green Bottles
  • Solving problems - How many cups of water to fill the teapot
  • 'Talk Maths'. Use mathematical language such as more/less in everyday tasks
  • Measuring out ingredients for cooking
  • Helping with the shopping
  • Water play at bath time - filling and emptying a range of containers

What could you do at home to help promote creativity?

  • Collect natural materials to make pictures and collages.
  • Mix cornflour and a small quantity of water to make ‘gloop’
  • Play a variety of music types and dance
  • Make instruments out of household utensils and make some noise!

If you need any resources to help support your child at home, please speak to your child's key person