Learning and Development

All Ofsted quotes have been taken from our last inspection operating as Home from Home Day Nursery School, and our latest inspection operating as Home from Home Day Nursery School Academy.

Learning and Development


All of the principals stated in the settings learning and development policy apply to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). We recognise that learning begins at birth and continues throughout life. We acknowledge that everyone has the ability to be a competent learner, regardless of disability or other special needs. 


All children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, there are seven areas of learning and they are;


The Prime areas

• Communication and Language

• Physical Development

• Personal, Social and Emotional Development


The Specific areas

• Literacy

• Mathematics

• Understanding the World

• Expressive Arts and Design


The principles which guide the work of all Early Years practitioners are grouped into four themes:

A Unique Child- Every is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. 

Positive Relationships- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships. 

Learning and Development- Children develop and learn in different ways. Practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development.


They foster the characteristics of effective early learning, which are;

  • Playing and exploring
  • Active learning
  • Creating and thinking critically 

In all areas of the setting, a warm welcome awaits where practitioners will plan high quality experiences aimed to stimulate and excite children, around their interests, in an environment that provides continuous provision for learning. We believe that play should be the vehicle to learning, as we know that play is one of the main ways that young children learn and is an essential element of the learning process of young children. We are mindful that children do not just learn through different types of play, but through life experiences, and that direct teaching contributes hugely, understanding that it should be engaging, playful and draws on children's interests. Practitioners understand that children learn, and construct knowledge in experiential, interactive, concrete and hands-on ways, and this underpins all planned activities and is why planning ensures that children have lots of opportunity to initiate their own ideas and freely choose activities. Key practitioners hold level 3 Early Years qualifications and many are also graduates. The Principal holds a PGCE and is an Early Years Teacher (EYT) and supports and advises planning.

Outdoor Learning Environments 

We believe it is important that children go outside every day to explore all environments. The outdoor learning environment is valued as half of the curriculum and is organised into areas of provision that promote the seven areas of learning in the EYFS curriculum, for example, 'risk taking' within a safe environment, to the use the natural environment in imaginative ways i.e. exploring the dinosaur park, creating obstacle courses and building dens. 


"There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing" - Sir Rannulph Fiennes, World Explorer


At Home from Home Day Nursery we keep spare clothes, sun hats and supply rain suits so that all children are able to enjoy the outdoor space whatever the weather.

As children prepare for school (Owls group), practitioners will provide more structured activities- working one to one with children and providing small group activities to support children’s transition and readiness for formal school. (See Welcome to the Pre-School Owls Group Booklet). 


We know that on-going formative assessment is at the heart of effective early years practice and so Home from Home practitioners will observe children as they act and interact in their play. Observations are used to inform dialogue between pedagogues, to identify patterns in children's development and to plan effectively for individuals or small groups of children. Practitioners will consider ways to support children to strengthen and deepen their current learning and development. They will plan ‘next steps’ (intentions) by implementing strategies to support children's individual needs, providing stimulating resources and materials to support ongoing development, whilst continuously monitoring the impact. 

We are unanimous in that “We listen to and respect what children say, and act on their ideas”.

We understand that each child develops uniquely during their first three years of life, therefore practitioners will not have rigid expectations about what your child should and should not be doing at a certain stage, practitioners are skilled at noticing and adapt to, and will respond to individual children’s changing interests and abilities, including those with disabilities and special needs.


We know that our youngest children are born with a tremendous amount of intrinsic motivation. This motivation is aimed toward having some viable effect on the environment, when babies and toddlers can actually see the results of their actions as a reward they are motivated to continue those actions. However, attempts toward control are limited in very young children, so our knowledgeable practitioners will provide unstructured and structured play activities that offer your child the opportunity to be a creative and active learner, for example, lots of physical exploration,- treasure boxes, drawers and baskets placed at children’s level so they can look in and explore the contents, heuristic play (a basket of natural and safe objects), materials and boxes, tunnels and tents to make a place, filling and emptying, transporting and travelling, lots of art activities, soft play climbing, that develop motor skills and help children to learn and develop confidence.

Practitioners recognise and value the importance of body language, voice tones and facial expressions and recognise that children can communicate from the moment of birth and they provide resources that encourage talking and listening, for example telephones, music, noisy toys, storytelling etc. and will use sign language as a further way of encouraging communication with babies and young children.


"Children show high levels of independence in readiness for school. For example, staff encourage children to make their own choices and be confident learners. Those children working at higher levels are consistently challenged. Staff work closely with parents and schools to support transitions. Teachers visit the nursery to meet children, and the staff share detailed information regarding children's development. Children are exceptionally well prepared to start school."-Ofsted