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Kylemore Nursery School, Coleraine


"Play is the highest form of learning in early childhood" 

Tina Bruce- Learning through Play 2001 

The nursery curriculum is based on play. A child's parents are the very first teachers and each child comes to nursery school with a wide variety of experiences upon which the nursery school will build. First hand experiences underpin all aspects of the nursery school and lead to quality learning. 

Nursery play experiences are structured, observed and recorded by staff to ensure there is progression. Children learn best through play experiences that are relevant and meaningful to them. We plan activities to stimulate the children and reflect their interests. 

We aim to create a rich, stimulating, happy and challenging environment where all children will have the opportunity to develop their potential. Our aim is that children with special educational needs will, as far as possible have access to a full broad and balanced curriculum, similar to that offered to their peers.

We lay great emphasis on learning outdoors and children will experience being outdoors in all seasons and weathers. We believe - if a child is not well enough to go outdoors s/he is not well enough to be in nursery school. 

Our planning is guided by the 'Curricular Guidance for Pre-school Education'.

This guidance is presented as six areas of learning that will provide a foundation for individual learning. 

The six areas are: 

1. Personal Social and Emotional Development: 
children learning how to be independent, how to work, play and co-operate with each other; how to appreciate and respect self and others 

2. Language Development: 
children developing competence in language skills - understanding, talking, listening, learning to communicate effectively, learning to become readers and writers 

3. Physical Development and Movement: 
developing physical control, fitness, mobility, balance awareness of space, manipulative skills 

4. The Arts: 
developing imagination, ability to express feelings and ideas in a creative way through art, music, drama and appreciation of natural beauty 

5. Early Mathematical Experiences: 
providing a foundation for numeracy developing through practical ideas, using the language of maths, measuring, estimating, sorting, matching, counting 

6. The World around Us: 
developing knowledge of how to use tools, computer, tape recorder, camera, how magnets work, how substances can change, exploring light and shadow, forces and energy, developing knowledge of the environment through the seasons, living things, re-cycling, skill development for later learning in history and geography 

Our school has a wide range of resources - including staff - to enable us to provide opportunities for all the children to experience all these areas of potential learning. Children with special educational needs will be offered the same opportunities as their peers and staff will scaffold their learning in an inclusive manner. The curriculum will be enhanced and developed further throughout the year by regular visits out of nursery school and visitors who will come in to enrich the children's learning.

Planning in the Moment

We provide an environment that meets the needs and interests of the children, where children are independent, calm, confident and purposeful in their play.

We believe that children learn best when leading their own learning. Children are born with a natural desire to learn and explore and our staff support them to do this.  We do this through providing an enabling environment and through the relationships and interactions that the children experience.  When children are highly involved their play their brains are focused and deep level learning happens. 

As a result we do not plan ahead. Young children are experiencing and learning in the here and now, not storing up their questions until tomorrow or next week.  Instead, we remain in the moment with the children as they play and explore. We observe carefully, and enhance the learning whenever we spot a “teachable moment”.  Our observations, interactions and the outcomes are recorded afterwards.

Each term every child will be a ‘focus child’ and the staff team will observe and support them in their play, offering input at “teachable moments”.  This is our planning, using that moment to develop your child’s learning.  This may be done through providing vocabulary, demonstrating how to use a tool, modelling positive interactions with peers etc.  The traditional teaching cycle of observation and assessment is done in the moment that it happens and we invite you to be part of that process by making contributions to their Evidence Me learning journey.