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Early Years

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Our Early Years


Our Nursery and Reception classes form a cohesive Early Years department, ensuring that your child's transition is seamless. 

Our nursery is more than just childcare: one of our major benefits is the opportunity for children to progress into Reception class and continue on their educational journey with minimal disruption. 


At the core of our Early Years curriculum are the Characteristics of Effective Learning.  

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Characteristics of Effective Learning


Playing & Exploring

A Natural Girl

Active Learning


creating & thinking critically

Children are encouraged to play with what they know and to develop the confidence to “have a go.”


We are committed to offering children an experience that will foster a love of learning within a safe and stimulating environment.


We build secure and trusting relationships which allow our children to flourish.

The indoor and outdoor environment is carefully resourced so that children become motivated to be independent learners. 


Children are supported to become more resilient: to keep on trying and achieve what they set out to do.


Children become more engaged; showing high levels of energy and fascination.

As children engage in a broad range of activities in Early Years, they begin to actively think about the meaning of what they are doing. 


Children will begin to generate new ideas, make links between experiences and learning and become problem solvers.

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Play based approach to learning

The children will have the opportunity throughout their day to engage in play-based activities indoors and outdoors. They will have access to a variety of areas within the classroom where they can independently choose and lead their own learning. Play-based learning provides opportunities for children to actively and imaginatively engage with people, objects and the environment.  Children are naturally motivated to play. Our play based curriculum builds on this motivation, using play as a context for learning. In this context, children can explore, experiment, discover and solve problems in an imaginative way.  

Our play-based approach involves both child-initiated and teacher-supported learning. At Shield Row, we encourage children’s learning and inquiry through interactions that aim to stretch their thinking to higher levels. Our aim is to have an environment that is welcoming, friendly, supportive and challenging. We wish for both you and your child to have a happy and confident beginning to their school life at Shield Row Primary School

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The curriculum in the Foundation Stage is taught through the Early Learning Goals. Our EYFS area is a carefully planned and well-resourced environment that caters for the various needs of a young child. We offer a broad range of experiences for the early years, both indoors and outdoors. Our Early Years team plan a range of purposeful activities which inspire and engage children as well as match the different levels of need.


There are seven areas of learning that shape our educational programmes.


 The 3 prime areas are:


  • Communication and Language

  • Physical Development

  • Personal, social and emotional development


Children are also supported within the 4 specific areas of:

  • Literacy

  • Mathematics

  • Understanding the World

  • Expressive Arts and Design

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During the first few weeks in Nursery/ Reception, we want our children to feel happy, settled and safe. We spend time playing with the children in the provision, getting to know them, finding out their knowledge, understanding, language and interests. We use this information to support our plans moving forward.  


Each child has their own electronic ‘Learning Journal’ based on Seesaw, where we record and share their learning through photographs and videos of what they have been doing. As this is web-based parents have full access to these from home. We want parents and carers to be involved fully to ensure we can gain a holistic view of each child, therefore, we ask parents/ carers to upload photos, videos and comments to their child’s journal.

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Every week in Early Years, we have ‘Spotlight Meetings’ as a team to discuss the children. We pull on everyone’s knowledge of the children, identifying what is successful and where we need to go next to ensure all children are keeping up. Information, observations, discussions and any physical work are shared as a team.

We then feed this information forward into our planning, highlighting any children who may need more adult intervention, adult-led learning or adult support.  

We follow an assessment cycle, ensuring that we are aware of the progress the children are making as well as any child who needs additional support.

EYFS Assessment Cycle 

Reception also complete the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA). The RBA is a short, interactive and practical assessment of your child’s early literacy, communication, language and mathematics skills when they begin school, using materials that most children of your child’s age will be familiar with. It became statutory for all schools from September 2021.

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What do our parents say?

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My child is so enthusiastic with all his school work. We have been practicing the reading card over the weekend and he is doing great!

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It is so lovely to see what my child has been getting up to at nursery. It is lovely to see that she is starting to interact with you because I know how shy she is. 

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My child absolutely loves nursery. He has made some lovely new friends and tells me what he has been doing every day.  

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