Our Approach

At Yanwath Preschool Nursery we have created a child-centred environment which supports open-ended play. We strive to offer a secure, caring and interesting environment where children are treated as individuals and feel valued, cherished and confident. Each child will be encouraged to progress, learn and develop a sense of self with the aid of play activities and resources made accessible to them.

Outdoor play is an essential part of our nursery, encouraging the children to be active and enjoy the outdoors. We are fortunate to have a secure garden area that is accessible at all times, as well as access to the main playing field and school playground.

We have a free-flow approach whenever possible between the indoor and outdoor areas and children are encouraged to make their own choices in activities and how to use the resources available. We give the children freedom and resources to learn through play, with our experienced staff at hand to enhance their development through the early years curriculum. In planning our provision we always work towards incorporating positive opportunities for all children, reflecting diversity and addressing issues of race, culture, gender and disability, offering each child equal access to support, development and learning.

Ultimately our aim is to help every child attending our nursery to develop a positive sense of themselves, respect for their environment and other people, social skills and a positive attitude to learning, in partnership with their family.

To contact the nursery please call 01768 863074

Early Years at Yanwath – How we facilitate learning

Our Rationale

We believe we are preparing children to be ‘main school ready’. We aim to develop independence, risk-taking and a desire to learn through a challenging curriculum which develops the whole child.

Early Years Practice

  • Early Years at Yanwath consists of two classes – Nursery and Reception.
  • Our curriculum is the Early Years Outcomes (formerly Development Matters).
  • We use the school drivers (Enterprise and Citizenship), rules and policies and procedures to develop well-rounded individuals.
  • We focus on every unique child, using children’s interests and experiences as the basis for our planning.
  • There is a balance between adult-led and child-initiated activities.
  • In best practice (when weather permits) we have free-flow from our outdoor and indoor spaces.
  • We value and develop Sustained Shared Thinking.


In Nursery and Reception we structure our planning by using long- and medium-term plans. For short-term planning ‘Possible Lines of Development’ (PLODs) for each child are used in Nursery and individual targets are used in Reception.

Planning in Nursery:

  • Long-term experiences (incl. trips, visitors, etc.)
  • Medium-term planning (see half term sheet with weekly outlines)
  • Short-term planning using focus child information from home and key person knowledge. Individual assessment and observations inform PLODs, which are used to add challenging enhancements to provision and check coverage.

Planning in Reception:

  • Long term experiences
  • Medium term planning (see half term sheet with weekly outlines)
  • Short term planning using the Focus Children targets and interests.
  1. Weekly sheets to include enhancements to setting.
  2. Morning starters
  3. Phonics
  4. Guided Reading
  5. Numeracy
  6. Specific activities
  7. End of week sheets sent home to families.


Formative Assessment

Throughout Early Years observations form the basis of our assessments. We use observation sheets, speech bubbles and photographs to capture specific moments in children’s learning and development. Each week there are focus children. Observations are made and next steps are given. All children will be the focus of observations at least once every half-term and significant moments of learning will always be observed along-side focused observations.

The key person system ensures staff are aware of the specific needs of individual children and can raise any vulnerable group issues. An early years’ representative attends half-termly safeguarding meetings with the safeguarding lead within the school.

Progress is tracked every half term in Reception and termly in Nursery.

Continuum of learning is effective between Nursery and Reception classes, with shared behaviour expectations and terminology.

Summative Assessment

Baseline on entry to Nursery within 6 weeks of starting. Tracking begins of individual children and each Nursery key person projects attainment on exit from Nursery. Reception staff use this information to predict outcomes for the end of Reception class.

Transition document with individual child’s age and stage of development in prime and specific areas of learning passed onto Reception staff at end of Nursery (Reception baseline information).

Baseline on entry to Reception for children who have not attended Yanwath Nursery.

Termly data to CET.

GLD at the end of Reception.

Involvement of Parents

Parental input is valued in both Nursery and Reception.

Parents or carers are informed when their child starts in Nursery and Reception classes who their child’s key person will be.

Across our Early Years setting we have focus children each week. Parents are asked about their child’s latest interests and this information is used to plan activities.

Wow moments from home and in class are celebrated.

Parent helpers are taken on school trips.

Parents are invited to the whole school assemblies every Friday.

As part of Understanding the World- ‘People and Communities’ parents are encouraged to come into class and share their experiences e.g. occupation and culture. Inclusive practice is evident, with dual-language labels and notices throughout the setting and an equal opportunities ethos embedded.


  • The Nursery has an ‘open door’ policy. Parents bring their children into class.
  • Home visits take place when a child begins Nursery. Two members of staff, one each from Nursery and Reception, will visit the home. Ideally this will include the child’s key person.
  • Children who do not attend Yanwath Nursery will receive a home visit in the summer term before starting school.
  • Learning Journeys (‘All About Me’ books) are used to celebrate children’s development and are accessible within the provision for children and their families. These books are sent home at least once each term and are updated regularly by key workers. Children’s next steps are explained to their families and suggestions on how to achieve these are given.
  • Daily communication sheets are sent home when staff are not in contact with a parent or carer at the end of a session (for example if a child is travelling home by bus from Nursery or in After School Club). The Nursery has a separate email address and phone number from the school office, so that parents can contact the Nursery staff directly.
  • A lending library of books, resources and story sacks is available for families to borrow items from.
  • A parents’ meeting is held at the end of Nursery to inform them about their child’s transition into Reception.


  • At the start of the year, for the first 2 weeks, parents are invited to bring their children into class. This is a valuable time for both the parent and child to help settle in to school life and new expectations. It gives parents an opportunity to talk to staff about any worries or concerns.
  • There will be 3 parent consultations throughout the year (October, March and July). The staff will inform the parents about their child’s settling in, progress, achievements, areas of concern and most recent targets.
  • Learning Journeys are used to celebrate children’s development.
  • Home observation books are sent home. These include a copy of the child’s targets and parents are asked to write down comments and observations which staff can use for their assessments.
  • Throughout the year reading tasks will be sent home and Reading Records will be used to document the child’s progress.
  • There will be a parents’ meeting at the end of Reception to inform about the transition into Year 1 and the expectations.

Becoming ‘school-ready’

Throughout Early Years there is a strong emphasis on developing independence, from toileting and dressing to children taking ownership of their learning.

You can find our nursery application form on the Admissions page.