Moorside Pre-School logo - Nursery Education Lancaster

01524 66516 or 07572399254

Moorside Pre-School mobile logo - Nursery Education Lancaster

Moorside Pre-School After School Club

01524 66516 or 07572399254

How and What We Learn

Click the titles to read about the learning processes.


At Moorside Pre-School we start with the principle that children learn best when they are settled, confident and happy, with positive bonds with the grown-ups who care for them. With this at the heart of all that we do we provide opportunities for them to learn through a mixture of self-directed and adult led experiences. Our routine is planned to be play rich, in an environment designed to reflect children’s interests and skill development.
Our curriculum is guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework (EYFS) and based primarily on the Birth to Five Matters document, supported by our practitioners’ professional knowledge of child development.

Characteristics of Effective Learning

We recognise that there are certain behaviours children use in order to learn so we promote and recognise them throughout our provision.

Playing and Exploring (Engagement)
A Unique Child: What a child might be doing 

Finding out and exploring 

  • Showing curiosity about objects, events and people
  • Using senses to explore the world around them
  • Engaging in open-ended activity
  • Showing particular interests

Playing with what they know 

  • Pretending objects are things from their experience
  • Representing their experiences in play
  • Taking on a role in their play
  • Acting out experiences with other people

Being willing to “have a go” 

  • Initiating activities
  • Seeking challenge
  • Showing a “can do” attitude

Active Learning (Motivation)
A Unique Child: how a child is learning 

Being involved and concentrating 

  • Showing a deep drive to know more about people and their world
  • Maintaining focus on their activity for a period of time
  • Showing high levels of involvement, energy, fascination
  • Not easily distracted
  • Paying attention to details

Keeping on trying 

  • Persisting with an activity or toward their goal when challenges occur
  • Showing a belief that more effort or a different approach will pay off, and that their skills can grow and develop (growth mindset)
  • Bouncing back after difficulties

Enjoying achieving what they set out to do 

  • Showing satisfaction in meeting their own goals (I can!)
  • Being proud of how they accomplished something – not just the end result
  • Enjoying meeting challenges for their own sake rather than external rewards or praise (intrinsic motivation)

Thinking Creatively and Critically (Thinking)

A Unique Child: how a child is learning 

Having their own ideas (creative thinking) 

  • Thinking of ideas that are new and meaningful to the child
  • Playing with possibilities (what if? what else?)
  • Visualising and imagining options
  • Finding new ways to do things

Making links (building theories) 

  • Making links and noticing patterns in their experience
  • Making predictions
  • Testing their ideas
  • Developing ideas of grouping, sequences, cause and effect

Working with ideas (critical thinking) 

  • Planning, making decisions about how to approach a task, solve a problem and reach a goal
  • Checking how well their activities are going
  • Flexibly changing strategy as needed
  • Reviewing how well the approach worked

The Areas of Learning

Prime areas of development and learning lay vital foundations in the early years: 

Personal, Social and Emotional Development 

  • Making Relationships
  • Sense of Self
  • Understanding Feelings

Communication & Language 

  • Listening and Attention
  • Understanding
  • Speaking

Physical Development 

  • Moving and Handling
  • Health and Self-Care

Specific areas of learning and development provide children with knowledge and skills to flourish in society: 


  • Reading
  • Writing


Understanding the World 

  • People and Communities
  • The World
  • Technology

Expressive Arts and Design 

  • Creating with Materials
  • Being Imaginative and Expressive

Each practitioner leads a particular area of learning. They plan for starting points on our overview each term. Using this they plan as a team each week to ensure that the continuous provision is challenging and relevant to the children’s current learning and development, and that any aspects which would be most effectively taught through an adult led activity is planned for.

The Teaching Process - Planning in the Moment

We recognise that in the early years the teaching process happens in many of the interactions we have with the children in their play, with teachers skilfully extending learning based on their knowledge of the individual child and typical development. These are ‘teachable moments’. As they happens many times each day it would not be beneficial to record every one of these moments. We instead record them once each term for every child in what is called their ‘focus week’. This offers us the opportunity to reflect on how the child is learning, how we are extending their learning and what we could do next to support them. We work in partnership with parents with this- a copy of the focus week sheet is shared and next steps are developed together in a meeting. We do this in place of formal parent’s evenings as feel that they are more meaningful.

Helicopter Stories

One of the special things we do at Pre-School are called Helicopter Stories. Based on a method developed by Vivian Gussin Paley, taught by Trisha Lee, the children at Pre-School become adept story tellers and actors.  

The children tell the teachers stories and watch them scribe this into their special book. At group time it is then acted out, with children taking on different roles.  

This is a fantastic way for them to develop early writing and literacy skills, along with supporting creative and social development.


We use the WellComm system developed by speech therapists to assess the children’s listening and understanding skills. To complete the assessment each child’s key person answers some questions about them or plays some short games. From this we will find some aspects to feed into our planning and will be made aware of any children who may need some more structured support with their communication and language. This is then planned for individually or for the whole group, with an emphasis of doing this throughout our daily interactions with the children where possible. We find that using Wellcomm has a significant positive impact on children’s language skills.