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Early Years

In early years children are active learners who learn through their senses, investigation, experimentation, listening, watching, social interaction, questioning and exploring. A safe, secure environment is provided for the children in which to interact and explore rich and diverse learning and developmental opportunities.


During their time in the early years setting all children are given the opportunity to gain independence and a positive self-image. They develop skills and understanding of the world around them through a range of planned activities both in and out of the classroom, broadening what they know and deepening their knowledge.


At St Mary and St Chad CE First School, the Early Years Foundation Stage currently consists of our onsite Nursery - ‘Hummingbirds’ and our Reception Class - ‘Doves’. They have an inter-connecting door and share the use of the extensive and well equipped outdoor learning environment.

Hummingbird’s Nursery offers high quality pre-school provision which prepares children for school in a play based environment.  Children in their pre-school year are encouraged to attend nursery 8.45am -11.45am Monday to Friday during term time so they can participate in a range of learning activities and integrate with each other. Additional extended care can be accessed between 7.45am and 6pm.

Younger preschool children can access nursery sessions between 12.15pm - 3.15pm, Monday to Friday during term time. Extended care is not available until children are in their pre-school year. (see Hummingbirds link for more information)

Through the analysis of school data children who attend Hummingbirds nursery make more progress in their reception year than children who don't attend Hummingbirds. 

During the reception year we aim to provide a smooth transition into school life. Experienced staff offer an exciting and stimulating learning environment through a child led planning approach which we strongly believe ensures that the children achieve their best. Through a mixture of adult focused planning and continuous provision planning the children are given the opportunity to explore all areas of the curriculum. Planning is enhanced daily in line with the children’s needs and interests and this therefore challenges them and allows us to reflect on the characteristics of learning.

The initial focus in early years is through the prime areas of learning: communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development. These are essential and make a significant difference to outcomes for children and to future life chances.

These are then expanded through the specific areas of literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design which form the stepping stones for Key Sage 1. (See Doves class link for more information)