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Growing & Learning Together

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 through the online Tapestry programme.

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 years.

Prime Areas Specific Areas
Personal, Social and Emotional Development Literacy
Communication and Language Mathematics
Physical Development Understanding the World
  Expressive Art and Design

We provide a rich and varied learning environment, planning sequenced and vocabulary rich 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 Teaching and 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 their 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, Paddling with Phonics 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 stories 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!

'The nursery is stunning and has such a wealth of space and beautiful environments'

visiting practitioner