The Learning Experience

The Nursery School children at Ratcliffe College follow the revised Early Years framework curriculum introduced in September 2012.  The staff adhere to the early years principles.  The children entrusted to us benefit greatly from our warm, welcoming and caring environment.  We celebrate the uniqueness of each child and aim to nurture their God given talents and gifts.  The staff work in partnership with the parents to ensure that each child makes the necessary progress to achieve their potential.  The early years curriculum is holistic and balanced; emphasis is placed upon learning through practical experiences, discovery and play.  The Nursery School provides a continuous learning experience both in and out of the classroom.  Our dedicated and experienced staff will ensure that your child flourishes and develops the necessary confidence, independence and love of learning that will begin their learning journey at Ratcliffe College.

The Early Years Principles

  • A Unique child
  • Positive relationships
  • Enabling environment
  • Learning and development

There are seven areas of learning development which shape the educational programmes in the Nursery School.  All the areas of learning and development are important and inter connected.

The prime areas are:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

The prime areas are strengthened and applied by the specific areas which are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

Communication and language

Development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

Physical development

Involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement.  Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.


Development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write.  Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.


Involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces and measures.

Understanding the world

Involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

Expressive arts and design

Involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

Additional curriculum information

Parents can obtain additional information on the DFES website, the Early Years Curriculum.  The weekly learning objectives are available to read in the Nursery School.  Curriculum information evenings are held in the Nursery School.  Information can be found in the Nursery and Preparatory School’s calendar.

Extra-Curricular Activities

The Nursery School children use and benefit from the College’s first class facilities.  There are opportunities for the youngest members of the School to receive swimming and dancing lessons and specialist tennis coaching during the summer term.

Our children enjoy at least two planned visits per term.  They are varied and enhance and extend our holistic Early Years curriculum.  The outings are planned to ensure there are opportunities for the children to discover, explore and experiment within the parameters of a safe environment.