Curriculum and Learning

Learning and Development

At St Mary’s Pre-school our practice follows the principles and standards of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum.


Every child is a unique, capable individual with their own specific needs and interests.  Our aim is to provide a safe yet stimulating environment for our children that generates in them a curiosity and enthusiasm for knowledge, exploration and discovery.

We know that every child arrives at Pre-school with different experiences of life, and learns and develops in different ways and at different rates. We strive to develop strong, positive relationships with each child and their family, working together with parents and carers to maximise the positive outcomes for everyone. We want every child to learn the skills, resilience, values, and attitudes that are necessary to make them ready for their next step into school, and in turn the wider community.

We never underestimate the importance of feeling confident in your choice of Pre-school and knowing that your child will be happy, safe and well cared for whilst they are with us.

The EYFS Curriculum

The EYFS Curriculum consists of seven interlinked areas of learning and development.

Three areas are considered particularly important in building the key skills that children will need in the future.  They are known as the prime areas and consist of:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development (self-confidence and self-awareness, managing feelings and behaviour, making relationships)
  • Communication and Language (listening, attention, understanding and speaking)
  • Physical Development (moving, handling, health and self-care)

In addition, there a further four specific areas which extend and reinforce the learning and development in the prime areas.  These are:

  • Literacy (reading and writing)
  • Mathematics (numbers, shape, space and measures)
  • Understanding the world (people and communities, the world and technology)
  • Expressive arts and design (exploring and using media and materials, being imaginative)

At St Mary’s Pre-school we use our existing knowledge of each child, together with our intended outcomes, to plan resources, activities and experiences for the specific children in our care each day.  These allow them to develop and improve their skills and confidence in all of the areas of learning.

A parent’s guide to the EYFS can be downloaded at

How we deliver the curriculum

Our staff are experienced, well qualified early year’s practitioners with a good knowledge of how children learn and develop.  When you join the Pre-school you will be allocated a specific member of staff to be your key person.  It is their role to build a warm, supportive relationship with your child, to monitor their progress and development and to work in partnership with your family to ensure the care and learning experiences we provide are tailored to meet the needs of your child. We try to get to know your child and their individual needs in advance of starting Pre-school from settling-in visits, home visits and information sharing. This information allows us to plan for the first few days and make the transition into Pre-school as smooth as possible. Then through interaction and observation we start to plan for their next steps. We monitor their development and the  impact of our planning to ensure they reach the desired outcomes.

You will be able to watch your child’s progress and achievements via our online learning journal called Tapestry. This online system will show photographs and videos of your child during their activities at Pre-school, and how they link to the Early Years Foundation Stage’s areas of development. It also provides a fantastic opportunity for you to review and share these special moments at home with your child and other members of your family. This is an important way to praise your child, boosting their self-esteem, and creating a positive learning experience.

We understand that you as parents and carers remain the main educators of your child, and our home learning sheets are designed to give ideas and little challenges that will consolidate your child’s learning at home. Your child will also be able to choose a book from our library, for you to enjoy at home, and will be able to change the book weekly should they wish to. We also recommend the Government’s home learning campaign ‘Hungry Little Minds’, and you can read more about this further on in our website.

The emphasis at St Mary’s Pre-school is on learning through play.  We ensure that a good variety of experiences and resources stimulate the children, encouraging the children to have a positive ‘can do’ attitude towards playing and learning. We combine a mixture of adult-supported and child initiated activities each day to meet the needs and interests of the children attending each session.

The staff interact with the children throughout each session, supporting and encouraging them as they develop and practise new skills.  We encourage them to investigate, explore and create, to think and develop their own ideas and help them to make connections in their learning but above all, to enjoy themselves.