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Our Learning

Cookham, Maidenhead and The Lawns Nursery School Federation Teaching and Learning Policy

Our Ethos

Learning through play that follows the children’s interests is the over-riding ethos of the federation and is at the heart of all teaching, learning and assessment.

We understand the four principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage

1. A unique child

2. Positive relationships

3. Enabling environments

4. Learning and development


The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum consists of seven areas of learning:-


Three prime areas –


Personal, social and emotional development

 Making relationships

Self-confidence and self-awareness

Managing feelings and behaviour


Physical development

Moving and handling

Health and self-care


Communication and language development

Listening and attention




Four specific areas –








Shape, space and measure


Understanding the world

People and communities

The World



Expressive arts and design

Exploring and using media and materials

Being imaginative




The Observation, Assessment and Planning Cycle













Through observing individual children and the cohort as a whole we notice their interests, likes and needs. As a team we analyse our observations, make assessments and plan the environment and resources according to those interests, likes and needs.


Every child is unique and knowing the children well enables us to plan for their next steps in learning.



Characteristics of Effective Learning


Understanding how individual children learn underpins our practice. The Characteristics of Effective learning help us to understand how children develop learning skills for life.


The Characteristics of Effective Learning outline the children’s abilities when:-


Playing and exploring- engagement

Finding out and exploring

Playing with what they know

Being willing to ‘have a go’


Active learning- motivation

Being involved and concentrating

Keeping trying

Enjoying achieving what they set out to do


Creating and thinking critically- thinking

Having their own ideas

Making links

Choosing ways to do things













What does Effective Practice Look Like?


Key person – for strong attachments, good communication and positive transitions.


Parental involvement – through parent progress meetings, learning stories, questionnaires, parent workshops, Come and Play sessions, open-door policy.


Learning stories – through quality adult/child interactions, promoting the language of learning, giving the child a voice, sharing experiences with the child and their parents, planning next steps.


Environment and resources- accessible open ended resources, free-flow environment, quality interactions to support active learning through play, indoors and outdoors.


Monitoring and assessment – learning stories, learning journeys and O Track data inform planning and individual children’s next steps.


Learning Stories

Stories written in a narrative style that describe an activity that your child has been doing. We use a common ‘language of learning’ including words such as persevering, concentrating and being an expert. From the stories we are able to look closely at your child’s learning and development and from this we can highlight the next steps that we want your child to take.


Learning Journeys

An individual folder containing photos, drawings, mark making and special moments selected by the children as well as their key people.


O Track Data

Computer based assessment tool completed by child’s key person. Analysis of this data informs planning for activities, resources and the environment as we notice patterns and areas for improvement.


Planning and Evaluating


Medium term planning - is reflective to the needs of the children and their next steps of learning. Throughout the year we plan for a variety of enrichment experiences such as a farm visit, trips to the shops, train journeys, visits from musicians and many more.


Short term planning - the nursery meet at the end of every day to evaluate the children’s learning and plan for progression the next day.


Parents and Carers- we welcome comments and ideas from parents / carers about particular interests and achievements.