Cranborne Road, Newbold, Chesterfield, S41 8PF

01246 232370

Nurture, Cherish, Succeed


"Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all"



                Nursery Curriculum


Intent: The intent of our curriculum and our teaching approach is to nurture and cherish our children in order for them to succeed. We want to support our children to be confident in all they do, have a broad vocabulary, extended opportunities and experiences and develop strong relationships with their peers. We want them to be the best they can be by opening all available opportunities for learning and development to all children.



Our long term plan and knowledge organisers  the different areas of learning are broken down into terms to show how we will cover each area and build on the existing knowledge and skills. Along with this we have included core books that will feed the children’s imagination and enhance their knowledge and understanding alongside the wide range of books accessed in the continuous provision (CP) and in the focused literacy inputs. Themes and topics will change throughout the year as we focus on the children’s interests and needs as these arise.

The information on here will be translated into daily/weekly planning to suit the ever-changing needs and next steps of the children. Our curriculum remains responsive to children’s interests, but with underlying focus on key areas in order to provide a robust foundation of knowledge and skills.


Impact: At the end of each area of learning on this overview, the impact of the educational programme is stated.


The Nest long term plan


The Nest Long Term Plan 2023 2024 



The Nest nursery gallery 

The gallery showcases our learning over the year. The books we have read, activities and sessions we have loved and any visitors to our nursery. 

Click the link to see the nursery gallery.


*Parents will also have access to Evidence me. This is a platform that we use in school to take pictures and video observations of the children. Follow the link to find out more about Evidence me 





1. Personal, Social and Emotional Development:


At The Nest we recognise that Children’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others. Children at The Nest are supported to manage emotions, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities, to persist and wait for what they want and direct attention as necessary. Through adult modelling and guidance, children learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating, and managing their personal needs independently. Through supported interaction with other children they learn how to make good friendships, co-operate and resolve conflicts peaceably. These attributes will provide a secure platform from which children can achieve at school and in later life.



Personal, Social and Emotional experiences are about:

  • Self Regulation

  • Managing Self

  • Building Relationships


2. Communication and Language:


 At The Nest we understand that the development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. For this reason, we prioritise the development of communication and language. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners are able to build children’s language effectively. Reading frequently to children, and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, gives children the opportunity to thrive. Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from staff, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures.



Communication and Language experiences are about:

  • Listening, attention and Understanding

  • Speaking   

3. Physical Development:


At The Nest we recognise that physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness. We use Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle, and Dough Gym activities  to develop gross and fine motor movements.  By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors, adults can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination which is later linked to early literacy. Repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and the practice of using small tools, with feedback and support from adults, allow our pupils to develop proficiency, control and confidence.


Physical Development experiences are about:

  • Gross Motor Skills

  • Fine Motor Skills




4. Literacy:


 At The Nest we believe that it is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. We understand that reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. To develop language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) we regularly talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read. We also enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together.

In Nursery children develop their phonological awareness through taking part in adult-led activities which promote listening skills and Phase 1 Letters and Sounds. Through these activities’ pupils develop their auditory discrimination, and auditory memory. Activities to progress children’s phonological awareness and interest in sounds are embedded.

Children will hear stories from the Nursery 'Core stories' list  read fluently and without interruption daily. These texts will be read repeatedly throughout the year to support the development of vocabulary, language structures and foster a passion for reading. 

At The Nest the children mark make every day. Children are encouraged to develop a preference for a dominant hand and develop an appropriate grip. Our younger pupils take part in unstructured writing activities, such as drawing a picture of their choice. When children are ready to write they are encouraged to rehearse out loud what they want to say, before spelling the words using the graphemes and ‘tricky’ words they have learnt. Nursery take part in ‘Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle’ activities to develop their fine and gross motor control for writing. 

Children will engage in pre writing activities. They will experiment with making their own marks for a purpose.


Literacy experiences are about:

  • Comprehension
  • Word Reading
  • Writing

5. Mathematics


At The Nest we understand that developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically.

The children are taught to count confidently. Pre-number work is covered in Nursery through nursery rhymes and stories, social counting and using numbers in play. Children develop an understanding of how-to-count using the following principles;

  • The one-one principle
  • The stable-order principle
  • The cardinal principle

Once children have developed their understanding of how to count, they can develop their understanding of ‘what to count’ using the following principles;

  • The abstraction principle
  • The order irrelevance principle 

By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding, such as using manipulatives, children develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built.

Our curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures. We believe that is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.

Mathematics experiences are about:

  • Number
  • Numerical Patterns


6. Understanding the world


This area of learning involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment. At The Nest children are given opportunities to solve problems, investigate, make decisions and experiment. They learn about living things, their environment, the world around them and the people who are important in their lives. Children are also given opportunities to develop computing skills and to work with and use modern technology. 

Our  forest school area provides a wealth of opportunities for children to discover, explore and extend their natural talents. Here children learn first-hand about the riches of the natural environment whilst developing important life skills such as team work, problem solving and resilience.


Understanding the World experiences are about:

  • Past and Present

  • People, Cultures and Communities


7. Expressive arts and design


 At The Nest we recognise that the development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity. It is important that children have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. The quality and variety of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts. The frequency, repetition and depth of their experiences are fundamental to their progress in interpreting and appreciating what they hear, respond to and observe.

We provide opportunities for all children to explore and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of art, design, technology, music, drama. movement, dance and imaginative play activities. Children are given opportunities to make paintings, drawings, collages, models and use musical instruments. Children also learn new songs and rhymes and enjoy singing them with each other. 


Expressive Arts & Design experiences are about:

  • Creating with Materials

  • Being Imaginative and Expressive




The characteristics of effective learning describe factors which play a central role in a child’s learning and in becoming an effective learner. They are vital elements of support for the transition process from EYFS to Year 1. The characteristics of effective learning run through and underpin all seven areas of learning and development. They represent processes rather than outcomes and explain how your child demonstrates playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically.



1. Playing and exploring ( engagement)

‘Finding out and exploring’ involves open-ended hands-on experiences which result from innate curiosity. These experiences provide raw sensory material from which your child builds concepts, tests ideas and finds out. ‘Using what they know in their play’ describes how children use play to bring together their current understandings, combining, refining and exploring their ideas in imaginative ways. Representing experiences through imaginative play supports the development of narrative thought, the ability to see from other perspectives, and symbolic thinking. Children are willing to ‘have a go’ initiating activities and seeking challenge, learning by trial and error.


2. Active learning (motivation)

‘Being involved and concentrating’ describes the intensity of attention that arises from children engaged in following a line of interest in their activities. Children are able to maintain focus for a period of time, show high levels of energy and fascination, paying attention to details. ‘Enjoying achieving what they set out to do’ builds on the intrinsic motivation which supports long-term success. It refers to the reward of meeting one’s own goals, rather than relying on the approval of others.


3. Creating and thinking critically (thinking)

‘Having their own ideas’ covers the critical area of creativity – generating new ideas and approaches in all areas of achievement. Being inventive allows children to find new problems as they seek challenge, and to explore ways of solving these. ‘Using what they already know to learn new things’ refers to the way children use narrative and scientific modes of thought to develop and link concepts. ‘Choosing ways to do things and finding new ways’ involves children approaching goal-directed activity in organised ways, making choices and decisions about how to approach tasks and planning and monitoring what to do and being able to change strategies.

Last updated March 2024