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Whitehead Primary School, Whitehead, County Antrim

General Information


Nursery Curriculum & Planning

Children make sense of the world around them through real and first-hand experiences and it is therefore important to recognise that the process of learning i.e. how a child learns is as important as the content i.e. what a child learns. Our Nursery setting provides extensive opportunities to promote each child’s development. The planning reflects closely the Curricular Guidance for Pre-School (2018), which is divided into 6 areas of learning. In each of the areas, children will be encouraged to:

Personal, Social & Emotional Development

  • Explore their surroundings, choosing a wide range of materials and equipment to ensure that a balance is maintained.
  • Foster self-confidence, self-esteem and a sense of personal worth.
  • Acquire self-help skills through the course of their play.
  • Establish good relationships with both peers and adults.
  • Engage in sustained and purposeful play as their concentration lengthens.
  • Develop skills playing in a variety of situations; independently, in small/large groups and as a whole class, having the opportunity to lead and to follow.
  • Be aware of the reasons why rules and routines are in place to aid their development of discipline and self-control.
  • Respect and care for classroom equipment, materials and living things.
  • Acknowledge and come to terms with fears and anxieties.
  • Demonstrate an increased awareness of the feelings and needs of others.
  • Experience the therapeutic value of working with natural materials.

Physical Development & Movement

  • Enjoy the freedom of physical play
  • Develop spatial awareness and begin to use space imaginatively.
  • Move confidently with increasing co-ordination and control.
  • Use a wide range of equipment with increasing competency and safety.
  • Develop manipulative skills through practise of small tools and equipment.Language Development
  • Use language for an increasing number of purposes including describing, expressing themselves, asking questions and responding to questions.
  • Understand and follow one or more instructions.
  • Extend their vocabulary through the course of their play.
  • Communicate their thoughts, ideas and feelings.
  • Gain confidence conversing with both peers and adults.
  • Develop fluency and clarity of speech.
  • Develop an interest in books/stories and acquire predictive and recall abilities.
  • Use books as a means of gaining information, for relaxation and enjoyment.
  • Be aware of book format i.e. front, back, cover, pages etc. and handle appropriately.
  • Understand that print conveys meaning and be aware that it goes from left to right, top to bottom.
  • Experiment with a variety of writing tools to encourage pre-writing skills/emergent writing.


The Arts

  • Explore the properties of natural and manmade materials, experimenting with colour, shape, texture, form and sound.
  • Use a variety of tools and media to develop representational skills, displaying increasing detail and form.
  • Develop originality and creativity in their thinking.
  • Value and talk about their work and that of others both in progress and as a finished product.
  • Express ideas and emotions and come to terms with the adult world through engaging in role/imaginative play.
  • Respond freely to music through movement and rhyme.
  • Develop an awareness of rhythm, pitch and differentiate between sounds.Early Mathematical Experiences
  • Begin to understand the concept of size and quantity and use associated language.
  • Sort, match, order and sequence during their play.
  • Develop a sense of perspective and position.
  • Develop an awareness of number through games, stories, songs and rhymes.
  • Use mathematical vocabulary to talk about shape in their environment.
  • Acquire problem-solving and predictive skills through exploration and investigative activities.
  • Develop an awareness of time through daily routines, seasonal events and taking turns.World Around Us
  • Observe, explore, investigate and problem-solve using a range of equipment and materials.
  • Talk about their observations and represent them through drawing, collage etc.
  • Put things together in various ways to develop skills of cutting, joining, folding and building.
  • Identify familiar sights and sounds in the environment.
  • Recognise and name parts of the body and face.
  • Become familiar with using information technology e.g. CD players, digital cameras, iPads
  • Learn the names of play equipment and use appropriately.
  • Talk about themselves, their family and events, both past and present.
  • Show an interest in their environment and notice changes.
  • Develop an awareness of the work of people in and out of their immediate environment.
  • Respect and care for living things, handling them sensitively.
  • Take increasing responsibility for caring for their environment.
  • Become familiar with and use some positional and directional language.


Monitoring & Assessment

In order to ensure all children are making sound progress in each area of development, Nursery staff closely monitors them throughout the year by way of observations, both incidental and planned. These are used to compile assessment profiles, which provide valuable information to share with parents at interviews that are held in at the end of October and mid-February. At the end of the year, each parent receives a transition report, copies of which are sent to the Year 1 teachers, with whom the staff have excellent links.


Special Educational Needs

The Nursery has established effective working relationships with other professionals who are involved in children’s care, education and development e.g. speech & language therapists, occupational therapists and educational psychologists. In accordance with the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice, where appropriate, an Action Plan or a Pupil Learning Plan is drawn up for any child who presents with a specific learning difficulty e.g. speech and language, behavioural issue, ASD. This is reviewed twice yearly and the Special Needs Co-ordinators (Mrs Parkes) are kept informed of each child’s progress. We encourage parents to share in confidence with us any concerns or niggles, no matter how seemingly insignificant, as this enables us to best meet children’s needs by helping to overcome any potential barriers.