Curriculum in the Nursery

The Curriculum

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards for learning and development for children from birth to five years of age. The Early Years seeks to provide:

Quality and Consistency
At Lakeside we work hard to ensure all children make good progress. We pride ourselves on having an inclusive environment that ensures children are both supported and challenged in their learning.

A Secure Foundation
Our curriculum is planned according to children’s individual curiosities, through core stories, themes, and community needs. We are highly reflective and use observations and interactions to inform future planning.

Partnership Working
As one of our school drivers, community and parent partnership is vital in ensuring all children are provided the right foundation for good progress throughout their school life. We provide a holistic approach to teaching and learning. Working with parents to ensure the environment and learning opportunities not only support your child but challenge them too.

Equality of Opportunity
We aim to provide a safe, caring and friendly environment for all our children to allow them to learn effectively, improve their life chances and help them to reach their full potential.

There are seven areas of learning. Three of these are seen as the prime focus for healthy development of pre-school aged children. They are seen as the foundations of learning.

Communication and Language
• Listening, Attention and Understanding
• Speaking
The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. At Lakeside we understand the importance of back-and-forth interactions in a child’s language and cognitive development. Our learning environment is language rich, and the team is committed to engaging in high quality interactions.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development
• Self-Regulation
• Managing Self
• Building Relationships
Children’s wellbeing and happiness is at the heart of all that we do. At Lakeside we know that the development of PSED is crucial for children to lead happy and healthy lives, and fundamental to their cognitive development. The team are committed in developing positive, warm and strong relationships with all children. At Lakeside we use Zones of Regulation to support children to manage emotions and develop a sense of self.

Physical Development
• Fine Motor
• Gross Motor
Physical and sensory experiences are vital in developing children’s co-ordination, strength, spatial awareness, agility, balance, stability and all-round development. At Lakeside, the children have access to the indoor and outdoor environment and a range of resources to support both gross and fine motor development as well as weekly PE sessions.

Alongside these three prime areas, there are four specific areas for learning. These help strengthen and apply the prime areas.

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Our Intent

At Lakeside the child is central to all that we do, their happiness and wellbeing is at the heart of our curriculum. Our aim is for all children to be confident communicators, inquisitive, independent, and happy learners. We recognise children’s individual needs and prior learning to create a holistic curriculum that build’s strong foundations for the future. The skills and knowledge acquired is underpinned by a strong set of values. Children at Lakeside understand the importance of respect, they are considerate of others and develop social and emotional intelligence.

Throughout their time in the Early Years, the children develop a sense of belonging to our school community and we believe community involvement and parent partnership are key to children’s education. We champion equality and believe every child can make progress. We recognise that all children are unique, and we celebrate differences within our school community. This is achieved through a curriculum that activates children’s natural desire to learn, following their interests and own curiosities. We encourage children to show courage and be aspirational in all that they do.

At Lakeside we know the development of oracy skills is key not only in academic achievement, but a child’s social, emotional, and interpersonal skills. We aim for all children to develop a wide vocabulary, to clearly articulate and communicate their needs, wants and ideas. To be able to activate their inquisitive nature and ask questions. At Lakeside we aim for children to acquire the skills and experiences to prepare them for life in an everchanging world.


At Lakeside we follow the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, updated September 2021, by the DFE. This framework specifies the requirement for learning and development. We use the non-statutory guidance, Development Matters, to inform our curriculum. Through quality first teaching we and a clear sequence of objectives we ensure all children make progress and have appropriate challenge and support in all areas of learning.

All children are recognised as individuals and treated according to their needs. We understand that children learn in a holistic way, and we orchestrate the environment to facilitate a community of enquiry. Children are given ample opportunities to act in an autonomous way and encouraged to take a lead in their own learning. However, we know that children need adult instruction to learn new things we ensure that there is a healthy balance. We trust in children’s judgements and actively tune into their passions and interests using them as a vehicle for learning.

Child Led Learning “Explore and Learn”

Children have extended periods of time to engage in their own lines of enquiry. Our learning environment is set up to ensure children have access to open ended resources to support learning in all areas of the curriculum. The inside and outside environments have equal importance. During this time children will:

• Engage in open ended resources that support learning in all areas of the curriculum.
• Practice the skills and knowledge acquired in adult directed activities.
• Practice and embed learning behaviours.
• Develop their metacognitive skills and self-regulation.
• Adults interact in child led learning to support, scaffold, challenge and extend thinking.
• Children have agency over their learning and environment. Helping to develop intrinsic motivation and a love of learning.

Thematic Approach and Adult Directed

Our curriculum is planned around several high-quality texts, which follow a theme and are rich in language. Planning promotes awe and wonder, excitement and offers numerous experiences. Our themes are constantly evolving and developing according to community and cohort needs or interests. Direct teaching is a carefully planned set of objectives according to children’s next steps. Some planned activities include:

• Storytime and Grandma Fantastic – Her love of language promotes the development of new words.
• Rhyme Time - Systematic phonics approach.
• Number Rhumba - Teaching early maths skills.
• Mindfulness – Breathing techniques, yoga, outdoor learning.
• Adult led inputs to teach a new skill.
• Enhancements – Activities available to the children with a clear objective.

Adults are dynamic and creative in their approaches to delivering the curriculum and strive to offer learning opportunities in meaningful ways that are designed to promote the love of learning! Our Early Years team follow a flexible timetable.


We strive to ensure all children make progress during their time in the Early Years. We work closely with the Inclusion Lead to ensure our curriculum meets the needs of all children, including SEND and disadvantaged. The team at Lakeside are highly reflective and proactive to ensure all children’s individual needs are met. The impact of our curriculum is measured by assessment procedures that help demonstrate progress and next steps. These inform future teaching, learning and planning.


On arrival into our setting the team spend long periods of time interacting and building relationships with all children during their play. These in-depth observations are our baseline, which informs future planning and teaching opportunities. 

2 Year Old Progress Check

Once the children have settled, we complete the statutory 2 year old progress check. We provide a well rounded picture of your child's knowledge, understanding and attainment in the Prime Areas. 

Focus Children “Learning Detectives” (3/4 year old)

Each child is a focus child once per term, three times a year, thus resulting in parents having the opportunity to contribute and consult with us. During each child’s focus week, they will noticeably have more observations in their learning journal on which quality interactions and learning experiences are recorded. We encourage the children to share and reflect on their progress, to take ownership of their learning and begin to understand their own targets. At the end of their week as a focus child the team will meet with the parents to discuss progress, achievements, and next steps. Evidence in children’s learning journeys supports all areas of the curriculum.

Partnership with parents and families is vital in building a picture of the whole child. We take pride in the strong and positive relationships we have built with our families, to ensure all children are supported. We encourage families to contribute to their child’s learning journey to share any achievements or progress they have made.


During their time at Little Ducklings, the children's development will be recorded in an on-line Learning Journal called 'Tapestry'. Photographs, achievements and progress statements are entered into their Learning Journal which is available for parents to access through a password protected login. Parents are able to contribute to their child's Learning Journal by adding photographs and comments. At the end of your child's time in Nursery you are able to download their journal to keep. 

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