Our Curriculum

We are registered with Ofsted as an early years provider.  In accordance with our registration we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which sets the standards for learning, development and care of children from birth to five years old.  It supports an integrated approach to early learning and care, providing a set of common principles and commitments to deliver quality early education and childcare experiences to all children.  The EYFS Framework provides assurance to you as parents and carers that your child’s learning and development experience will be underpinned by these commitments and principles, to give your child the best possible start in their early education and learning.

Every child is unique in their learning and development, so their interests will be incorporated into the activities that are planned for them, on a daily basis, by their Key Person.

The Learning Environment

The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending a child’s development and learning.  Having an enabling environment encourages them to play because they feel relaxed, comfortable and ‘at home’.  When a child feels emotionally safe and secure they are able to explore and find out about the place they are in and the things they can see, touch, manoeuvre or manipulate.  Each area or learning bay in the nursery’s various environments are resourced with play equipment to inspire the children to develop, play, and learn.

As the children transition through the nursery, each age group will offer them different resources to encourage further language and exploration to enhance your child’s development.

Key Person

At Northcote House Nursery, we operate a Key Person and Buddy Key Person system.  Every child will have a Key Person who will observe their progress and development whilst instilling in them a sense of security, reassurance and continuity.  Each Key Person has a Buddy Key Person who steps in when they are on holiday or away from Nursery.  Key Persons recognise every child’s individuality, efforts and achievements and believe that strong, secure relationships between adults and children are crucial for a child’s development.  They respond sensitively to a child’s feelings, ideas and behaviour.

Settling in at the Nursery

Prior to starting at the Nursery, every child will have a tailored settling in session, at which they will spend quality time with their Key Person.  During this time, parents, carers and the Key Person will gain valuable information about the child’s likes and dislikes ensuring a smooth transition from home to Nursery.

All babies and young children that start at Northcote House Nursery need to understand and feel that their parent or carer is comfortable within the new environment.  This will allow them to form a strong relationship and attachment with their Key Person.

Assessing your Child’s Progress

A formative assessment is a snapshot that is captured either at home or at the Nursery and is one moment in a child’s developmental learning journey which is recorded and stored as a keep sake for parents or carers.  These assessments are carried out through observations of children engaged in play or ‘wow’ moments in their development.  The Key Person will complete a summative assessment / written report of a child’s progress and attainment three times per year.  Children are unique and develop at their own pace, there is no rush.  Key Persons will use the information these assessments provide to inform future activities or a change in environment to assist a child’s learning and development. A parent or carer evening are held every term, to discuss your child’s progress and celebrate your child’s achievements.

The Two-Year Old Progress Check is completed when a child is in the Toddler Room (2-3yrs).  This is not a formal process, the Key Person will gain all this information during play and structured play – it is a fully enjoyable experience for all.

Learning Journeys

Upon joining our nursery, your child will be issued with a Learning Journey. Over time, this will build up a picture of your child’s journey through the Early Years Foundation Stage framework.  Your child’s key person will add different documents to the Learning Journey which  provide a record of your child’s learning and development during your time with us.

You will be able to see, at a glance, your child’s stage of development and the activities they will be involved in next at the nursery. The Learning Journey will include direct observations, art work, photographs and home observations, which are used to provide your child’s key person with the relevant information required to impact your child’s learning and development. All of this information is used to ensure we plan activities that will fully engage your child, based on their current interests.

These treasured memories, collated in the Learning Journey, will be available for your child to review at any time at nursery, enabling them to reflect and recall past events with their key person.  They are stored in an accessible place in your child’s room for you to access also.

When leaving the nursery, the holistic recordings of your child’s learning and development journey will be yours to keep and treasure for years to come

What are prime and specific areas?

The statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (DFE, 2017) focuses on how your child learns and what adults can do to encourage that learning. It identifies three prime areas, which are considered to be fundamental through the EYFS, and four specific areas which include essential skills and knowledge and provide important contexts for learning.

Ongoing assessment plays a very important part in recognising and understanding what a child needs. It involves practitioners observing your child to understand their level of achievement, interests and learning styles.

The three PRIME areas are:

Personal, Social & Emotional Development

involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

Physical Development

involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

Communication and Language

involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

The four SPECIFIC areas are:


Literacy Development

involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.


involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting; understanding and using numbers; calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces and measures.

Understanding the World

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.

Expressive Arts and Design

involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design and technology.