Learning Through Play

The OFSTED Early Years Foundation Stage Document

Smallwood Pre-School focuses on Learning Through Play, by following the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum to ensure that activities engage, stimulate and challenge youngsters. We aim to provide an environment where children feel secure and can become confident and competent learners.

The pre-school is led and managed by Jane Howe, a qualified and experienced Early Years Professional. She is ably supported by Pre-School assistants who are all trained to at least NVQ Level 3 in Childcare.

Vicki Lakin (Reception Teacher) oversees the Early Years Curriculum within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). She is a qualified and experienced teacher with training specifically in Early Years education and teaching.

The Early Years Foundation Stage Document encompasses seven Areas of Learning and Development:

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Everything we do at Smallwood Pre-School is designed to build self-esteem and instil confidence.  We help our children to consider and respect one another, helping to nurture and develop friendships.  We ensure their emotional wellbeing, help them to develop social skills and understand their own abilities.

Communication and Language

Language plays an essential role in our daily lives and we work hard to develop our children’s communication skills in as natural a way as possible. This is done by 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.


Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest. When children are ready, we also begin a phonics programme that aims to provide each child with a firm foundation on which to build early reading and writing skills.


We help children to start to develop their mathematical understanding in a broad range of contexts.  This is achieved through a wide range of activities from counting cups, to identifying shapes and learning about weights and measurements.  This in turn allows them to explore, enjoy, learn, practice and talk about their developing understanding.

Understanding of the World

Set in Smallwood’s extensive grounds, the pre-school offers a unique environment that is both safe yet allows children to explore and make sense of the world.  When the weather permits we undertake nature walks, picnics and outdoor lessons, as well as allowing children to undertake practical ‘experiments’ and work with a range of materials.

Physical Development

Physical development is essential not only for developing co-ordination, control, manipulation and movement but also for academic achievement. We are extremely lucky because, not only do children have access to both grass and hard standing play areas, but they can also use the school sporting facilities such as the gym. We also ensure that children understand the importance of physical activity and making healthy choices in relation to food.

Expressive Arts and Design

We encourage our children’s creativity allowing them to develop their curiosity, exploration and play. We offer opportunities to allow them to explore and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings, through a variety of activities such as art, music, movement, dance, imaginative role-play, mathematics, and design and technology.

We also work closely with parents to ensure that you are kept up to date with your child’s progress and to ensure that your child’s individual needs and talents are catered for at every stage of their development. Being at Smallwood is all about educating the whole child. This begins in the pre-school where everything is focused so that each child feels welcomed and valued.