Early Years is a Key stage and at Handale Primary School this begins with our 2 year olds in Pre-Nursery, includes our 3 and 4 year olds in Nursery and also our 4 and 5 year olds in Reception. Children can attend our Pre-Nursery on a 15 hour funded place (if eligible) or a 6 hour place for all children. Children can be eligible if parents have a low income or if parents are working 16 hours or more. Children can attend nursery on a 15 hour place (taken daily or in some cases flexibly) or a 30 hour place (if eligible). Children can be eligible if parents are working 16 hours or more.

We know how important this early learning is and how crucial it is to a child’s development, education and future success.

Book Focus:

At Handale we believe in the importance of books and throughout Early Years we focus our learning through stories. We use this story focus to develop all areas of learning in a fun and meaningful way. We recognise all children as individuals and try to follow children’s interests and development levels.


We believe that children learn best through play, both adult and child led. Play is fun for children and all the skills they need to develop can be taught through their play.


Our environments are extremely important in Early Years. We make sure our environments are appropriate for each age group and develop from the Pre-Nursery room up into the Reception classroom. Our environments are not static they develop over time linking to our story focus, children’s interests and skills. Our resources are carefully chosen to develop skills in a fun and interesting way. We ensure that skills are developed in a variety of ways throughout our environments both indoors and outdoors.  


All our practitioners are highly skilled in working with Early Years children. They are knowledgeable in child development and through careful observation they use this knowledge to move children forward. Practitioners will use observations and assessments to plan experiences for children and to record some sequences of learning in children’s Early Years Books. All Early Years children are allocated a Key Person helping them become more settled, happy and safe. A child’s key person is responsible for their care, development and learning.

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS):

We follow the EYFS guidance and ensure children’s learning is planned through the following ways: in Prime Areas (children mostly develop these areas first) and Specific Areas (prime areas help children develop skills in specific areas).

Prime areas:

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

Specific areas:

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

Handale Early Years Curriculum – We have developed our own curriculum which includes all of the areas above. We have set out all the things a child would need to know/be able to do in these areas from joining us at pre-nursery until the end of reception. The curriculum has built in Observation Checkpoints for us to assess that all children are where they should be. We can quickly see where a child needs support to ensure that no child is left behind. Our curriculum is designed to allow flexibility in how skills and knowledge are taught.

Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoETL):

At Handale we allow children to develop by encouraging CoETL. They are:

  • Playing and Exploring
  • Active Learning
  • Creating and thinking critically

Find out more about our Early Years:

Pre-Nursery Provision

Click to find out more information about our Pre-Nursery provision: Pre-nursery

Nursery Provision

Click to find out more information about our Nursery provision: Nursery

Reception Provision

Click to find out more information about our Reception provision: Reception

Early Years Documentation you might find useful:

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