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Intent and overview

Collyhurst provides an holistic curriculum, which seeks to develop the whole child and is underpinned by the ‘Collyhurst Constants’:


Be Happy


Be Kind


Be Safe


Be Brave

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Be Curious

These are not only the expectations that we have of children, but also our aims for them in the future. 


Our approach to the early years curriculum is rooted in the characteristics of effective learning: 

  • Playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.

  • Active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements.

  • Creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things’


By working with families as key stakeholders in their child’s development, and providing high levels of care in school, children who attend Collyhurst Nursery School are enabled to flourish.


The curriculum delivery is a balance between the direct teaching and practice of sequential knowledge and skills, and ample provision access. Quality learning through play is supported by expert adult interaction, following a child-led planning model which enables the development of cumulative knowledge and skills. 


For each age-band, objectives are split into 4 ‘blocks’, children work on the block which is most appropriate for them developmentally, and then move on to the next when they are ready. This movement will occur at different rates for different children, but it is closely monitored through assessment to ensure that children who don’t progress as quickly as their peers are not allowed to fall behind.

‘Carpet sessions’ are used as focus times to deliver carefully sequenced knowledge in a developmentally appropriate way; for our older children, these sessions are longer and more frequent, with a focus on the specific areas. For younger children, these sessions are shorter, less frequent and focus more on the prime areas. In both instances, they are delivered by expert practitioners, in line with our curriculum sequence and the children’s needs/next steps.


Continuous provision is set-up to provide children with the opportunities to practise and apply the knowledge they are taught in focus sessions, and much more. Expert practitioners, who know the children well, plan provocations to engage children with learning through play, as well as following their interests to promote learning through child-led play. 


The school’s curriculum map sets a sequence of objectives for the rooms in literacy or communication and language and mathematics (for older children). The objectives for the prime areas are also sequenced to form the curriculum, but these form each individual child’s ‘next steps’ rather than a group-level. Practitioners regularly review and update next steps, sharing them as a team, so that appropriate activities can be planned to facilitate achievement of next steps, alongside ‘in the moment’ interaction.


Our Nursery Day

The structure of the day is as follows in the nursery room. In the younger rooms, we work towards this at an age appropriate level:


Registration/breakfast/emotional check in 

Focussed phonics & Early reading session 

Child initiated learning (provision)

Key worker group time -  focussed poems/rhymes/singing/talk time

Lunch time

Key worker group -  focussed maths session 

Child initiated learning (provision)

Whole class key text story time 

Celebrations & Home time

Seven Areas of Learning

Communication and Language Development

All children are Wellcomm screened on entry to the school, to gain an accurate understanding of each child’s language development. This is then re-visited throughout their time in school, until they screen as ‘green’. Individual and group interventions are then planned and delivered to meet the communication and language needs of the children.

Physical Development

Our excellent outdoor provision provides lots of opportunities for children to develop the fundamental skills of movement. This is open ended and accessible at all times during child initiated learning time. Children also enjoy yoga and zumba sessions throughout the week. 


Carefully planned provision enables children to develop their fine motor skills through weaving, cutting, picking, pealing, threading, tracing, drawing and writing.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Emotional check in is part of our daily routine (in an age appropriate way) to ensure children feel safe, valued and are able to articulate their own emotions. Children work cooperatively with their peers, sharing resources, negotiating spaces and responding to others’ ideas. Children are also encouraged to be independent in meeting their own needs throughout the day, they are involved in processes such as snack time, washing up, sweeping up, making playdough from scratch, tidying up after themselves, using the toilets, washing hands and putting on coats. 


All staff across the setting uphold the same expectations of behaviour, following the ‘Collyhurst constants’ using the same systems, routines and signals across all rooms.


Early reading and phonics take place from day one with an initial focus on words and sounds, followed by a focus on stories, poems, rhymes and songs. Planned talk time happens continuously throughout the day, through role play, questioning, modelling language and vocabulary, and building sentences orally in a language rich environment. Children are encouraged to make up stories, innovate stories and create drawings and mark making to represent stories. Children begin RWI speed sound sessions once children can hold attention whilst listening to a story. This shows they are demonstrating the ability to learn to read sounds. By the Summer term in the yellow (nursery) room, all children who will be starting school in the September will begin speed sound sessions. This may be on a 1:1 or in a small group. High quality texts are accessible in all areas of provision to promote a love and interest in reading, these texts have been chosen based on the Read Write Inc recommended texts


Children develop a mastery approach to maths in learning and applying number, shape, pattern, positional language, size, length, weight and capacity. In the nursery room, these objectives are carefully sequenced and taught through carpet times, with children focusing on one number at a time and understanding it in great depth, before moving on. Objectives relating to shape, space and measure are taught through our excellent provision, appropriate texts and songs. In the younger rooms, maths is planned for in the provision and not delivered as a carpet session. Children learn through play to use positional language, explore shapes and patterns, and develop their counting.

Understanding the World

Children develop their understanding of the world through trips, visits, high quality texts and experiences. The books which children will read across their time at nursery, have been planned to showcase a range of environments, countries, cultures and communities. Children will discuss the texts as they read them, and engage in linked activities. In addition to this, key events such as religious festivals and national celebrations are planned into the curriculum to develop children’s understanding of a range of beliefs and values, including fundamental British values.

Expressive Arts and Design

Singing is built into the daily routines for tidying up, lining up, learning to count and recite poems, songs and rhymes. Children use large and small construction, junk modelling, and a variety of materials to create models. Our high quality provision provides ample opportunity for children to explore transient art. Children enjoy painting, colour mixing, glueing and sticking. Children role-play familiar scenarios expressing feelings and emotions. They also role-play stories which have been read over and over.

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Curriculum Overview

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Collyhurst Constants

Here at Collyhurst Nursery school, we support children to regulate their emotions and behaviour. To see how we do this, please click here.

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