We believe that from birth, children are strong, competent, motivated and confident learners who explore and test their ideas, solve problems and try to make sense of their world. We understand that young children learn through feeling, seeing, hearing, touching and doing. They are active learners and we ensure that the environment we provide for them promotes and protects the use of all of their senses.

We believe that children should be masters of their own learning with the skilful and supportive guidance of all of the adults who work with them. We listen carefully and respectfully to the children, we learn from them and what we provide for them promotes key attitudes for life-long learning’. The experiences we plan are challenging but achievable, they scaffold and prompt thinking, building on their interests, strengths and questions.

We know that young children need time and space to learn successfully. We, therefore, place a high value on time and offer children many opportunities to repeat, revisit and reflect on their previous experiences in an environment which is calm, purposeful, challenging and supportive. Learning is social in nature so we encourage and support children’s interactions with other children and adults.

We, therefore, aim to support our children:

  • To be happy, confident, motivated, independent, aspirational and who love to learn.
  • To have a positive self-image and high self-esteem.
  • To form and maintain positive relationships, to work collaboratively and be valued members of the community
  • To take responsibility for themselves, each other and their environment
  • To question, challenge and solve problems creatively
  • To know their strengths and to have the confidence to take risks
  • To know their ideas will be heard and respected and that they can make a difference
  • To be inquisitive explorers, investigators, researching and making sense of their world.

To help children along the way to becoming life-long learners we use the Bristol Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning. This is available to view along with other really useful information on the Bristol Early Years website.

We use Birth to Five Matters 2021 to plan both adult-led and ‘provocation’ activities (where children can explore activities on their own or alongside an adult). The curriculum is divided into 3 prime areas and 4 specific areas as follows:

Personal, Social, Emotional Development

We provide children with experiences and support which will help them to develop a positive sense of themselves and of others; social skills and a positive disposition to learn. We support children’s well-being to help them know themselves and what they can do.

Making relationships is the importance of children forming good relationships with others and working alongside others companionably.

Sense of Self is children having a sense of their own value and understanding the need for sensitivity to significant events in their own and other people’s lives.

Understanding Emotions is how children are able to develop their self-control and express their emotions and read emotions in others.

 Physical Development

We support children’s physical development by providing opportunities for young children to be active, inside and outside to improve their skills of coordination, control of themselves, manipulation of tools and movement.

We enable them to use all their senses to learn about the world around them and make connections between new information and what they know already.

Moving and Handling are the ways in which children:

  • Use a range of small and large equipment.
  • Learn to move with confidence, imagination and safety, with an awareness of space, themselves and others.

Health and Self-Care are how children:

  • Learn the importance of keeping healthy by what they eat and being active.
  • Gain a sense of self-respect and concern for their own personal hygiene and care and they develop independence.

Communication and language

It is fundamental that children develop their communication skills in order to be confident in their lives and community. We support children by; encouraging them to communicate in their way, developing their language through conversations with us and children.

We introduce new words to extend their language that they can use in a range of situations.

Language for Communication (including speaking) is how children become communicators in a variety of ways; non-verbal to start with, facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, signs and spoken word.

Language for Thinking is how children use language to talk through what they are thinking, imagining or planning to do next.

Listening, Attention and Understanding is being able to follow instructions, as well as joining in with group activities, and to show increased focus, attention and concentration.


Linking sounds and letters is how children make the connection that spoken words can be written down. This will help them learn to read and write in time.

We provide opportunities for children to explore different sounds through music, rhyme, rhythm and alliteration.

Reading is how children understand and enjoy stories, rhymes and books, recognising that print carries meaning.

Writing is how children build on the understanding that spoken words can be written down. We provide opportunities for children to make marks in lots of different ways. We encourage children to give a meaning to their marks and we value all the marks that they make so they see themselves as competent writers.


We support children’s mathematical understandings by developing their skills and knowledge in a range of real situations. We provide the opportunities for them to investigate, play with, practise and talk about their developing understandings.

We also introduce new mathematical language to support children in talking through what they find out and how to use their mathematical ideas to solve mathematical problems.

Children learn maths through playing with water, sand, sorting objects, playing with shapes (made and natural), making patterns, going to the shops and how old they are.

Numbers and Calculating is how children learn to count and the purpose for numbers and counting in real-life situations. It includes how children develop an awareness of the relationship between numbers and amounts and know that amounts can be combined or separated and taken away, and that two amounts can be combined.

Spatial Awareness, Shape, Pattern and Measure is how through play and talk children learn about different measures and shapes in real life situations. They learn the purpose of measuring, for example, through cooking and learn the vocabulary to describe size, weight, capacity and shape.

Understanding the world

We support children in developing their knowledge, skills and understanding that helps them make sense of the world in which they live.

We help them to answer their own questions about their world and where they fit within it. We offer opportunities to explore plants, creatures, people, objects and materials in their natural environments.

People and Communities is about how children begin to know about their own and other people’s cultures and beliefs in order to understand the diverse society within which they live. We support children to find out about past and present events relevant to them, their lives and those of their family.

The World (Exploration and Investigation) is about how children become more aware of their natural world and their local area. They investigate objects and materials and make their own experiments. They are encouraged and supported in asking questions and discovering their own answers.

Technology is how children learn about constructing and making things, learning to use a range of tools effectively and safely, including ICT.

Expressive arts and design

We support children’s creativity by providing opportunities for them to express themselves, and communicate their ideas thoughts and feelings through a variety of materials and media.

Creating with Materials is how children respond to what they see, hear, smell, touch. We provide opportunities for them to explore and find out about colour, textures, shapes and forms in two and three dimensions. We provide a range of resources for the children to investigate and work out what they can do with them.

Being Imaginative and Expressive is how children can develop their imaginations and respond to experiences through story, role play, imaginative play, dance, music, maths, design and art.

Dance and Music enables children to explore movement and sound including singing. It focuses on how to make different sounds using a range of resources including musical instruments. Children can explore representing their ideas through moving their own bodies.