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Whitehead Primary School, Whitehead, County Antrim

About Our Nursery

About Our Nursery

Whitehead Nursery Unit opened in November 2001 and is a purpose-built setting within the grounds of Whitehead Primary School. It caters for 52 pre-school children attending on a part-time basis i.e. 26 in the morning class (9:00 - 11:30am) and 26 in the afternoon class (12:30 - 3:00pm). Under the control of the Education Authority and fully funded by the Department of Education, all children attend 5 days a week.

The building comprises a cloakroom area, well-equipped classroom, carpeted quiet room, children’s toilets, storage facilities and an office/staff-parent room. The outdoor learning environment has a tarmacked playground with markings that is used for a variety of wheeled toys. There is a safety-surfaced climbing area, to which various moveable equipment is added to both support and challenge the children’s physical development. Designated areas have been established to promote children’s creative expression through a range of activities including role play, musical instruments, art & design/mark-making and large construction play. A large covered sand pit and mud kitchen provide the children with opportunities to explore and be imaginative with natural materials. Children can access freely a wide range of resources from the large garden shed in order to investigate and gain a deeper awareness of their environment.

All equipment is presented in such a way as to stimulate and sustain interest and each session provides extended periods of indoor and outdoor play to minimise interruption to the children. Snack time is also staggered for this purpose, allowing children to decide when they wish to go.

Linking closely with the curriculum, throughout the year children go on a variety of educational trips. These include monthly visits to the library, trips to the local bakery, Foster’s Fruit & Flower shop and an outing to Streamvale Open Farm. We also have visitors from a range of agencies and services including the NIFRS, PSNI community officers, postal workers and Debbie Doolittle’s Animals.


In Whitehead Nursery Unit, we work in partnership with parents, carers and other outside agencies to foster a welcoming, safe and stimulating environment for the children. Through their play and other learning opportunities, children are encouraged to be curious, experiment with ideas, explore and discover. In doing so, they can build progressively on their knowledge, understanding and skills in all areas of development, achieve their full potential and acquire a lifelong love of learning.

Through all activities, both planned and spontaneous, the staff promote children’s communication skills with adults and their peers in a variety of social contexts. Small and large group play is key to raising awareness of diversity in all its forms and in developing respect for themselves and others. All opportunities are used to encourage independence, taking risks, building emotional resilience and the ability to manage their behaviour in different situations.

The Nursery, as part of Whitehead Primary School, is involved as far as possible in all aspects of school life. We attend special assemblies and events such as fundraising days and make regular use of the PE hall and school grounds e.g. the orchard and Gruffalo trail. This helps the children become familiar with the rest of the school environment and staff, ensuring continuity for for the significant number of children who transition to Year 1.