New Mills Nursery

Be Safe
Be Kind
Be Inspired


We are inspected by OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education) to ensure we comply with this curriculum and that the children are receiving high quality education. A copy of our most recent and very positive inspection (September 2019) is available to parents at the school or on the internet. The curriculum is delivered in a variety of ways from teacher-led planned activities to self-initiated exploratory and imaginary play.

At the nursery school, we are guided by a curriculum that has been issued by the Department for Education. This curriculum was update in September 2021 and is known as the “The Early Years Foundation Stage” (EYFS). We aim to offer all children a broad range of exciting experiences.

Our nursery school curriculum is divided into seven areas of learning: -

Three Prime areas

1. Communication and Language
2. Personal, Social and Emotional Development
3. Physical Development

Four Specific areas

4. Understanding of the World
5. Literacy
6. Mathematics
7. Expressive Arts and Design

The Prime Areas

1. Communication and Language

This area is divided into three smaller areas:

1. Listening and Attention
2. Understanding
3. Speaking.

On entering the nursery school, children’s language development will be increasingly influenced by their wider social experience and the impact of literacy. Although language development pervades all areas of the nursery school curriculum, these three areas are specifically taught on both a formal and informal basis.

The nursery school provides meaningful contexts for active language learning through play, exploration and investigation and all the accompanying discussions. The teaching staff support and extend this verbal interaction in a relaxed and informal setting.

Enriching and extending children’s experiences of literature is also a priority at the nursery school. We provide a wide selection of books and our range includes factual, poetry, pop-up and storybooks with CDs. The children very quickly familiarise themselves with books and are able to make independent decisions about the type of book that they particularly enjoy.


Story time is an important part of our daily curriculum. Here, groups of children share the experience of listening to stories, poetry and ‘big books’. During this time the children are encouraged to participate by predicting ’what happens next?’ to comment on the outcome of the story or to listen for the rhyme. As children become more familiar and confident with the conventions of the story, they begin to join in with words and sentences and look for familiar letters and sounds.

Children also have opportunities to listen to stories on CD using the headphones in the book corner and also to listen to stories on the computers.

2. Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Personal and social education is fundamental to the development of the individual potential in all children.

There is no such child as a typical three or four-year-old. Therefore, from the child’s first visit to the nursery school, a key worker will begin to build a relationship with each child and his/her main carers. This key worker will become a source of reassurance and information in the early days and beyond. Only when children begin to feel secure and confident will they begin to find independence, become capable of making positive choices and start to make
decisions about their learning.

As children gain confidence, we provide opportunities for co-operative play and positive social interaction. Children are encouraged to take part in small group activities, which require sharing and turn taking. Role-play areas give children the opportunity to participate in imaginative play. This may be with an adult, a small group or a larger group of children. Through these activities, we aim to foster a caring attitude and respect for self and others.

As children become more familiar with the nursery school routine, they are encouraged to make independent choices and decisions. Materials and resources are within easy access to enable the children to organise themselves for a particular task or activity. Staff are on hand to encourage responsible behaviour and to enable each child to become more self-sufficient.

At the nursery school, we encourage children to develop a growing awareness and a sense of responsibility for their immediate environment. Helping to tidy-up, looking after personal property e.g. coats, hats etc. and putting books away carefully, all become part of the daily nursery school routine. As children grow in confidence and self-reliance, they may be given extra special responsibilities such as caring for a new child or sharing out the milk at snack time.

We also provide opportunities for children to become more familiar with their wider environment. Visits to the library, small group visits to local shops and local walks are always accompanied by discussion and observation. Road Safety, litter maintenance in the outdoor area and observing landmarks are, we believe, valuable learning experiences that promote a sense of responsibility and citizenship.

3. Physical Development

A child’s physical development has a great influence on all the other areas of their development. This area of the curriculum includes both the gross motor skills e.g. running, climbing and the fine motor skills required for cutting, drawing and small construction.

At the nursery school, we place equal value to both these skills. Outdoor play is a very important aspect of our provision and the activities are planned carefully to ensure safety and challenge. Children are encouraged to develop agility and confidence in using a variety of resources. Skills such as catching and balancing are encouraged through games and obstacle courses. Control and co-ordination are fostered through dancing and movement. Children are given the opportunity to move freely in a large space both indoors and outdoors.

Fine motor skills are developed in a variety of ways. Children are encouraged to fasten their own zips and buttons and manage their own snack. We provide a variety of activities to develop dexterity from manipulative play with clay and play dough to using scissors and sewing. All children are encouraged to draw and paint using pencils and tools in the correct manner. We also include healthy eating and general health awareness as part of our physical development curriculum.

The Specific Areas

4. Understanding the World

This is a very broad section of the curriculum that aims to build children’s awareness of the constantly changing world in which they live. It is divided into three main areas.

The first area is People and Communities. Obviously, the starting point for young children is to think about themselves and their immediate family and friends. They will be encouraged to think about their own past and to talk about the future. As the QCA document “The Early Years Foundation Stage” states children at nursery school should “begin to know about their own cultures and beliefs and those of other people”. This is reflected in all aspects of our daily work and resources.

‘The World’ is the second are and this is concerned with the natural and made world, how it works and how we can influence this world. Children will have opportunities to construct models using boxes, Lego and large bricks, explore materials e.g. sand and play dough and use calculators and tape players. These activities will be planned for both indoors and outdoors. Children are expected to take some responsibility for caring for their environment e.g. not dropping litter. We carry out investigations using magnets, ice and magnifiers. Children are encouraged to make predictions and influence outcomes. We grow seeds and plants and look carefully at life cycles and change.

The final area, ‘Technology’, involves computers and programmable machines. We have access to the Internet, but this is restricted to avoid access to certain websites. Many children will already be familiar with tablet PC’s, apps and remote-controlled televisions. We aim to build upon these informal experiences with well-planned experiences and a variety of resources. Children will be able to work on the computer and understand how to make it respond meaningfully. We encourage children to work with others and cooperate in
decision-making and share expertise.

5. Literacy

It is widely accepted that children at a very young age become aware of the print, which is present in every aspect of the modern environment. Consequently, they begin to investigate their own role of writers through drawing and role-play. In the nursery school, we support and encourage this early development by providing meaningful contexts for writing, which are part of the child’s everyday experiences. In the home corner there are opportunities to write messages on telephone pads, shopping lists and menus. A baking session may result in a written list of ingredients and special days are celebrated with cards written and illustrated by the children.

We currently use a phonics based early reading scheme called ‘Read, Write Inc.’ Please speak to Mrs Reed if you would like more information about this.

Separate drawing/writing and painting tables with a wide range of mark making materials, a variety of paper and individual name cards provide the children with the opportunity to pursue their writing development in their own time and at their own pace.

During their time at the nursery school, the children all have their own ‘book-bag’, which enables them to take home a chosen book or a small version of a ‘big book’ they have shared in their story group at nursery school that day. We see this as a valuable link between home and school, where children can share their growing knowledge and enjoyment of books.

6. Mathematics

Children are constantly using maths to make sense of the world around them. They know that counting the candles on a birthday cake will tell you the age of the person, they know who has the most sweets, especially if it is someone else, and they are beginning to recognise, through number songs and rhymes, that numbers come in a special sequence. They are developing an awareness of patterns through observing ladybirds and butterflies. They know that a Tyrannosaurus Rex was a huge dinosaur and that mice are very small.

At the nursery school we aim to build upon and extend this learning. Children will have many opportunities to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding in a variety of situations within different areas of the nursery school from everyday activities e.g. using the oven dials in the home corner, to carefully planned teacher-led activities that involve problem-solving and encourage mathematical thinking. The maths curriculum includes a wide range of activities involving number, pattern, measurement, shape and space.

The children will have opportunities to use weights and a variety of measuring devices in cooking activities. Whilst participating in movement sessions, they will be learning about using space in a three-dimensional world. They will be recognising written numerals, counting objects, solving simple maths puzzles when they are participating at snack-time, and developing a maths vocabulary whilst building using construction materials.

Singing time is regarded as a valuable time to reinforce children’s understanding of number order and songs such as ‘1 potato, 2 potato’ and ‘5 little ducks’ begin to develop a child’s understanding of simple number addition and subtraction.

At the nursery school, we want their early experiences of maths to be fun and meaningful.

7. Expressive Arts and Design

In the nursery school, children are involved in a wide range of creative activities including dance, drama role-play and music. Through dance and role-play, children are given the opportunity to understand and represent their world in a safe and supportive environment.

Singing and group music activities aim to encourage children to explore and experiment with the variety of ways in which sound can be produced and controlled. As the children gain in confidence, they begin to recognise the sound of a variety of instruments, to perform both individually and in a group and respond to a variety of non-verbal instructions.

We have regular dance and movement sessions during which the children are given the opportunity to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, to use space effectively and to move with increasing control and co-ordination. Children are encouraged to participate in the many opportunities provided for modelling, painting, drawing and designing. In order to refine and develop each child’s creative potential, we offer advice and additional material when required. We also encourage the child to discuss the process of creating and to discuss the finished product.

Our aim is to foster a sense of pride and ownership in each child. We, therefore, believe that it is important to display the children’s work around the nursery school attractively and in its original form.


Curriculum in Practice

Please click on the link below to read how the nursery school puts the EYFS curriculum into practice.

EYFS Curriculum in Practice 2020


Curriculum Policies

We have a policy to cover each area of the curriculum. If you would like to read these policies, please click the link to our Curriculum Policies page.

Curriculum Policies