Overview of Nursery

Young children learn through play and enjoy being actively involved in their learning. This prepares them well for school. Staff will help children to learn by observing them at play, deciding when to leave them alone and when to join in. They will stretch children in their play by offering ideas, materials or vocabulary, by asking questions, by setting challenges and by helping, explaining, and showing how things can be done. Staff will work with small groups of children on special aspects of learning, for example, to develop interest in books, to play games using shapes or to encourage children to use musical instruments.

Highland Council Rationale for Early Learning and Childcare

The first few years of life are especially important for helping children develop skills that will help them for the whole of their lives. Even from before birth, adults can influence how children develop and learn.

Scotland has the ambition to be the best place in the world to grow up. From before birth parents and carers have the main role in helping their children learn and develop. To support this, all children are offered provision in Early Learning and Childcare Settings from the age of 3, and many two year olds and younger also attend these settings. The purpose of this rationale is to set out our hopes for children as they encounter these exciting opportunities, and our best view of how settings, parents and carers can work together to promote the best outcomes for children.

What do we wish for our children?

Young children learn best through play, supported by sensitive and engaged adults. There are many things we would like them to learn, and everyone will have a different list. Also, every setting is different and needs to work in different ways. Research and experience shows, however, that there are some key skills that matter most. How secure children are in these skills can have a long term impact on their learning and life chances.

There are many ways to describe these, and they are set out differently in Curriculum for Excellence and in Building the Ambition. On the next page are two diagrams that show the key elements of development and learning, related to the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence and the three drivers of Building the Ambition. These are set out to inform planning and parental engagement. Progression in the skills can be recorded and shared with parents and carers during profiling. Reflecting on these skills can also support practitioners to plan their CPD and engage in self evaluation.

How do we help that happen?

We do this in Early Learning and Childcare Settings by:

  • Recognising the learning that takes place everywhere, especially at home
  • Working with parents and carers
  • Providing a wide range of experiences for children through play
  • Having rich, child-led, conversations with the children
  • Making good use of the outdoors, natural materials and messy play
  • Knowing each child, and his or her interests and needs
  • Making sure what we do matches each child’s developmental level
  • Reflecting on and evaluating how well our practice supports the key outcomes

You can find more information in our Nursery Handbook below.