Early years

Danesfield Manor School

Early years

In our Early Years Centre we aim to give each child the best possible start in life. We strive to encourage each child to meet his or her individual potential, providing a firm foundation for future success.

Around here, we don’t look backwards for very long… We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

Walt Disney

Our practitioners are passionate about early learning and love working with young children. They strive to promote the following values:

Equal OpportunitiesInclusion

In our Early Years Centre these values are promoted through the following strategies:

Key person approach (In Nursery and Pre-School)Individualised learning
Learning through playStringent policies
Termly individual planning and review (In Nursery and Pre-School)Pupil Profiles
Regular staff development and trainingSchool-wide behaviour policy
Access to an outdoor learning environmentContinuous Provision
Continual assessment through observationPositive behaviour management
Parental involvement 

What is the Foundation Stage?

The Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework sets standards to enable early years providers to reflect the rich and personalised experience that many parents give their children at home. Like parents, the staff deliver individualised learning and care that enhances the development of the children in their care and gives those children the best possible start in life.

Every child will be supported individually to make progress at their own pace and children who need extra support to fulfil their potential will receive special consideration.

The EYFS principles which guide the work of all practitioners are grouped into four distinct but complementary themes:

  • A Unique Child
    • Child development
    • Inclusive practice
    • Keeping safe
    • Health and well-being
  • Positive Relationships
    • Respecting each other
    • Parents as partners
    • Supporting learning
    • Key person
  • Enabling Enviroments
    • Observations, assessments and planning
    • Supporting every child
    • The learning environment
    • The wider context
  • Learning & Development
    • Play and exploration
    • Active learning
    • Creativity and critical thinking
    • Areas of learning and development

The EYFS curriculum is organised in to areas of learning and development which are divided into Prime areas and Specific areas as shown below:

  • Playing and Exploring
    • Finding out and exploring
    • Playing with what they know
    • Being willing to have a go
  • Active Learning
    • Being involved and concentrating
    • Keeping trying
    • Enjoying and achieving what they set out to do
  • Creativity and Critical Thinking
    • Having their own ideas
    • Making links
    • Choosing ways to do things

The EYFS curriculum is organised in to areas of learning and development which are divided into Prime areas and Specific areas as shown below:

Prime Areas
Personal and Emotional DevelopmentMaking Relationships
Self-Confidence & Self-Awareness 
Managing Feelings and Behaviour
Communication and LanguageListening & Attention
Understanding Speaking
Physical DevelopmentMoving & Handling
Health and Self-Care
Specific Areas
Shape, Space & Measure
Understanding the WorldPeople & Communities
The World
Expressive Arts and DesignExploring & Using Media and Materials
Being Imaginative


How does the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) work at Danesfield Manor Early Years Centre?

We plan from the EYFS curriculum throughout the Early Years Centre at Danesfield Manor. We have three different forms of planning:

  • Individual plans
  • Continuous provision plans
  • Adult-directed plans

Each room and outside area is organised into different areas which include:

  • Creative table
  • Small world and construction toys
  • Mark-making table
  • Role Play area
  • Maths area
  • Book corner
  • ICT

We believe in the importance of outdoor learning and use our outdoor area regularly every day for our continuous provision and for adult directed activities.

At the heart of good EYFS practice is on-going observation and assessment, enabling our staff to plan effectively for each child’s next steps for learning.

At Danesfield Manor this is incorporated in several aspects of our practice:

  • Key Person system
  • Snap-shot observation notes
  • Photographic observations
  • Focused assessment notes
  • Individual reviews
  • Individual Profiles

We believe in open and active two-way communication with parents. Here are just some of the ways that we endeavour to achieve this:

  • Communication books
  • Proud Clouds
  • Parents’ information board
  • Half-termly newsletters
  • Daily opportunities for informal chats with staff
  • Weekly articles in the Danesfield Gazette
  • Parents' evenings

Key Person

Each child is allocated a key person once they start at Danesfield. This member of staff will work closely with both you and your child to make sure that you feel comfortable and supported. This includes writing in your child’s communication book and ensuring that you receive the weekly planning and any other communications sent out from Danesfield to you.

Your child’s key person will be your main point of contact with Danesfield Manor, but obviously all are staff are happy to talk with you at any time and share responsibility for caring for and educating all our children.

All our staff plan and direct activities and write observation notes on all our children. However, it is the key person’s responsibility to write individual plans and reviews for your child and to ensure his/her individual profile is kept up to date.

Where does my child start?

At Danesfield Manor Early Years Centre children can join from the age of 2 years when they become a member of our Nursery room (subject to availability). The ratio of staff to pupils at this age is 1 adult to 4 children. We take every measure to ensure children build successful relationships with our staff across the Early Years Centre; this really helps them as they move on to the next room and stage of development. Activities in this room are suited to this age group and resourced accordingly. Children have the opportunity to make use of a free flow area to outside learning opportunities and a range of soft play activities.

Once children turn 3 they are challenged to take on new experiences in our Pre-School room. There is an opportunity for children in their final year of Pre-School to have weekly swimming sessions with our qualified coach in our on-site heated indoor swimming pool. In addition our Modern Foreign Languages teacher starts to teach French through a programme of song and role play. Music is taught with the children learning about rhythm, tone and different kinds of music.

At 4 our children join the Reception class where they participate in a full week’s programme of foundation stage activities. Our two full-time members of staff work with the children to complete the Foundation Stage Profile ready to go into Key Stage 1 when they are 5.

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