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Childcare & Early Education

Areas of Learning

All schools and Ofsted-registered early years’ providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes. It forms the early years’ framework at all of our nurseries to ensure your child is fully prepared for the next stage of their education.

At Derwent Stepping Stones, we have a strong knowledge of each area of learning outlined in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Our practitioners work with all of the children in our care to plan the next steps in their learning and development. Ofsted have consistently acknowledged the quality of teaching and learning supplied within our early years’ framework, and schools report that children have arrived ready for the next stage in their educational journey.

The early years’ framework covers seven key areas of learning:

  • Communication and language: listening and attention, understanding, and speaking.
  • Physical development: moving and handling, and health and self-care.
  • Personal, social and emotional development: self-confidence and self-awareness, managing feelings and behaviour, and making relationships.
  • Literacy: reading and writing.
  • Mathematics: numbers, shape, space and measure.
  • Understanding the world: people and communities, the world, and technology.
  • Expressive arts and design: exploring and using media and material, and being imaginative.

Settling In

Whilst at a Derwent Stepping Stones nursery, your child will have a key person who will be responsible for ensuring they get the most out of our early years’ framework. Your child’s key person will take their time to get to know them and your family, which helps us to support your child to settle in and turn up to nursery each day excited and happy. After five sessions, your key person will review, with you, how your child is settling in, their learning and development, and the support needed moving forward.

Learning & Play

We believe in learning through play. Learning through play allows children to develop and practice new skills, develop confidence as they explore new possibilities, and improve their social interactions and relationships. Perhaps most importantly, however, when learning through play children are happy and having fun while they learn. Your child will be observed playing whilst staff interact, support and challenge them. This then helps your child’s key person to create a plan that is individual to them and their interests, needs and abilities, fully supporting their learning and development.

Parent Partnership

You are the person who knows your child well and we welcome parent and carer input. With your input, we can ensure that our early years’ framework is adapted to your child as best as possible, so that they can develop in all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage. You can have conversations with us in person or through email, show us photos, or even enjoy some ‘at home activities’. You will also be able to express your views about us through surveys and questionnaires. If you’d like to know more, please use the contact page on this site to get in touch with us.

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As part of our early years’ framework, every eight to twelve weeks your child will have a shared assessment which will reflect on your child’s development in each individual learning outcome of the Early Years Foundation Stage. This isn’t a test, or anything that requires any kind of preparation. It is simply a way for us to get a good indication of how your child is developing under our care and if there are any areas where we need to strengthen or deepen their education to drive forward their learning and development.

Additional Needs

We have vast experience working with children who have additional needs through disability, developmental delay and disorder and communication issues. We are able to adapt our early years’ framework to allow any child with additional needs to get the care and attention they require in order to enjoy and progress their early years’ education. If concerns are raised about your child’s learning or development while attending a Derwent Stepping Stones nursery, our staff will work with you and your family to ensure the right support is in place.


The Early Years Foundation Stage sets out the necessary steps we need to follow to keep children safe and well. The EYFS is very detailed, especially when it comes to safeguarding and welfare, but the core elements are as follows:

  • Safeguard children
  • Ensure all staff are highly trained, and all adults in contact with the children are suitable
  • Promote good health and behaviour
  • Maintain records, policies and procedures