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The Early Years Foundation Stage framework sets the standard for development, learning and care for all children from birth to the end of the reception year. Activities will be planned within the seven prime and specific areas of learning, around the interests and needs of individual children to develop their skills and understanding by learning through play. Children will be working towards the Early Learning Goals at the end of reception year in school.


The Old School House Nursery offers freeflow play plus specific areas for role play, sand and water play, messy play, reading and stories, quieter table top activities, as well as a large well-equipped garden offering year round access to the natural world. The children are encouraged to take part in outside play almost every session - the use of colourful umbrellas in the rain being a particular favourite!


How we help your child to learn through the seven prime and specific areas of learning:


Personal Social and Emotional Development (Prime area of learning)

We provide a nurturing environment to support and develop children's confidence, autonomy and self-respect. We encourage sharing and respect of others through activities which involve collaboration such as board games. We provide opportunities to talk about feelings through discussion and activities such as reading books. Children's ideas and suggestions are listened to when planning activities.


Communication and Language (Prime area of Learning)

We encourage children to extend their vocabulary and fluency by talking, listening, songs and rhymes.


Literacy (Specific areas of Learning)

We offer an environment which is rich in print to enable children to learn about words, for example using names and labels.  We encourage all types of mark making for example, gloop, sand, chalk, shaving foam.


Mathematics (Specific area of Learning)

We develop children's awareness of numbers and sequences through songs, games and picture books; provide opportunities for problem solving, such as counting plates at breaktime and assist children to use and develop mathematical language in activities such as filling and emptying containers during water play.


Knowledge of the World (Specific area of Learning)

We use the outdoors to explore the natural world such as the effect of wind on bubbles; investigate using magnifiers; use technology such as computers, torches, cameras and programmable toys in play; provide resources and equipment for children to learn about new environments, such as space in small world and role play.


Physical Development (Prime area of Learning)

We encourage awareness of children's own bodies and what keeps them healthy through activities, discussion and example. We use a range of equipment to move, balance and climb to develop confidence and co-ordination in the use of bodily skills. We develop fine motor skills by encouraging exploration of malleable materials such as play dough.


Expressive art and Design (Specific area of Learning)

We provide opportunities and resources to encourage open ended exploration in painting, drawing and collage. Children are encouraged to explore sound by using a range of musical instruments and through opportunities for imaginative role play, both individually and as part of a group.


The Learning Journey

A record of your child's time at the nursery will be kept by the key person and is always available for you to share. We encourage parents to discuss and contribute to this 'learning journey' whenever possible.


Rising 5's

As children's skills develop, we begin to extend activities to further their pre-reading, numeracy and writing skills in preparation for their next step to school.  


Children are encouraged to take part in activities to develop letter formation through the use of different media. Activities such as sharing books and listening games provide opportunities for children to apply their developing phonic knowledge.  


More encouragement is also given to recognise shapes and learn about size and quantity. Children compare, sort, match, order, sequence and count using every day objects and learn to recognise and use numbers up to ten through counting games and number rhymes.  


We recognise the importance of children developing the necessary skills for their next step in independence and provide and support opportunities to develop children's confidence in self care skills such as dressing/undressing, hygiene and mealtimes.  


Following discussions with parents, contact will be made with each child's school and the appropriate preparations and introductory visits arranged.



We believe transition should be seen as a process, not an event, and should be planned for and discussed with children and parents. We will communicate information which will ensure continuity of experience for the child between home to nursery, additional settings and transfer to primary school.


Key Person

Each child is allocated a key person who works closely with them and their family and ensures individual care and attention. The key person will ensure that activities and care offered at the nursery are tailored to the unique needs of each individual child so that all children are supported in reaching their full potential.


Parent Partnership

The nursery recognises that parents are the most important educators of young children and we aim to share information and work closely with parents in order to support this. All parents are welcome to work in the group with the children, to help with fundraising and to join the committee.


Special Educational Needs and Inclusion

The nursery aims to have regard to the DfEE Code of Practice on special educational needs and also to the guidelines supplied to voluntary and private providers of pre-school education. We welcome and actively promote inclusive practices, celebrate diversity and provide appropriate learning opportunities for all children. The specialist expertise of an appointed Key Practitioner in Inclusion, ensures the needs of individual children are met.


Helmingham Primary School

We have a close working partnership with Helmingham Primary School and, by arrangement with them, share certain equipment and facilities, including the school hall. From September 2019 we will be merging our preschool provision with the school to become a new early years unit attached to the school providing education for children from aged 3 years old. A strong positive liaison with the school exists and forges a natural link that makes the eventual move to full time education much smoother and possibly less stressful than it otherwise might have been. Regular visits by the Reception teacher to meet the children mean those children who will eventually attend Helmingham School get to know her well in advance of their formal 'Rising Five' visits.


Click here to download a copy of the Parents' Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.








Early Years

The Old School House Nursery Helmingham is an Ofsted Outstanding rated nursery providing high quality pre-school education and childcare to Ipswich, Framlingham, Woodbridge and Debenham areas.   Our country setting serves many local villages including Coddenham, Gosbeck, Framsden, Grundisburgh, Otley, Hasketon, Helmingham, Tuddenham, Henley, Ashbocking, Claydon, Needham Market, Stowmarket, Stonham Aspal, Earl Soham, Brandeston, Kettleburgh, Westerfield, Witnesham, Pettaugh, Clopton, Barham, Mickfield, Swilland, Cretingham, Charsfield and Crowfield.

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