The Valley Nursery School - Curriculum

Our curriculum is based on ‘planning in the moment’ (PITM). We recognise that children learn best when playing and selecting what they do themselves. PITM means that practitioners are constantly observing and interacting with the children as the children pursue their own interests.  As our staff interact with a child, they are observing, assessing, planning for, and responding to, that individual child.  Such interactions are the most important and powerful teaching moments. Teaching …. includes … communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges.

It is widely recognised that children become more deeply engaged when following their own interests and at that moment of curiosity, puzzlement, effort or interest, our staff identify that ‘teachable moment’, as appropriate to that unique child at that precise moment, to extend learning.

By using this cycle on a moment-by-moment basis, the adult will be always alert to individual children (observation), always thinking about what it tells us about the child’s thinking (assessment), and always ready to respond by using appropriate strategies at the right moment to support children’s well-being and learning (planning for the next moment).

We maintain a resource rich environment that stimulates curiosity and enables each child to engage in activities independently and offers a variety of possibilities for the children to explore. Resources are accessible and flexible  to ensure we meet numerous different interests, it is easier to have one resource that can be used in infinite different ways, rather than dozens of different ‘closed’ resources.  For example, large wooden blocks can become a car, a boat, a stage, a staircase. All of our areas contain ‘loose parts’ to allow the children to create their own toys and landscapes so ensuring the children imaginations are fully engaged.

Open ended resources enable the children to direct their own journey and take the practitioners with them rather than the adults hi-jacking play to achieve a learning objective.

Planning in the moment is all about seizing the moment for children to progress with skilled practitioners using quality interactions to draw out the children’s knowledge and build on it there and then.

We believe that the whole curriculum can be accessed in the outdoors and use our wonderful areas to promote children's active learning and critical thinking as well as building their emotional health.  The outdoors naturally creates challenges for all ages of children and our experienced staff support children by using open ended questions to work through such challenges.  They are encouraged to keep trying even if they encounter difficulties.

Movement through active free play is the most beneficial gift we can give our children to ensure healthy bodies, creative minds, academic success, emotional stability, and strong social skills. The outdoors awakens and rejuvenates the mind and engages all the senses at once.

Vocabulary plays a vital role in children's confidence and assuredness.  Through early language children can communicate and articulate what they are thinking and get what they want.  They can make friends, have high self-esteem and good mental health.  To help children's vocabulary, we place great importance on interactions with each child.  As a whole setting we have undertaken 'Learning Language and Loving it' to reflect on and improve our interactions.  Staff are trained in Makaton to help bridge the gap between non-communicators and talkers.  Story time, song and rhyme are plentiful throughout the day.  We hold story days based on favourite books to fully immerse the

children in literature.

The curriculum enhances the experiences and opportunities available to our children


'Staff provide stimulating activities for children, which successfully promote interest and

learning through play. Children make good progress in their development because they are inquisitive

and confident learners due to the effective teaching.'


OFSTED inspection 2015