The Willow School and Broadwaters' Children's Centre

Curriculum Overview

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. (John Dewy)

Leaders have worked closely together across the Broadwaters Inclusive Learning Community to develop a curriculum that is coherently planned and sequenced throughout.  This ensures that our children are able to build on what they know and can do and allows children to remember long term what they have been taught.  Our curriculum is ambitious and meets the needs of all children providing them with the skills they need to succeed working collaboratively towards our shared vision.

Children in our Nursery and Reception Classes form our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This is a separate curriculum for children in this stage of school. It is planned to enable each individual child to explore the world in the ways that best suit them. Our new outdoor learning environment is a fantastic resource and enriches the children’s experiences, providing a lovely start to the children’s learning journey with us.

Our curriculum is carefully planned across the 7 named areas of learning.  All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. The prime areas are fundamental to a broad and balanced base of learning for children. The EYFS states that they are 'crucial for igniting children's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive’   There are three prime areas:

Communication and Language 

 The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development.

(Development Matters)

The EYFS stresses the importance of supporting children’s spoken language.  It is made clear that children's spoken language underpins all aspects of their learning.  It is our job to provide the children with a language rich environment and to ensure that we engage all children in high quality back-and-forth interactions and conversations.  By commenting on what children are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, our skilled practitioners will build children’s language effectively. 

Reading in the Early Years is also invaluable in building foundations in communication and language.  Reading frequently to children, and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, will give children the opportunity to thrive.  Here at Broadwaters, we have a passion for stories, story telling, role play and imaginative play which is evident in everything we do. 

Physical Development

Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives

(Development Matters)


Physical development is separated into two sections, gross motor skills (large/whole body movements) and fine motor skills (the muscles and movements in the hands and wrists). Children in the nursery are supported to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility.  These large motor skills provide the foundations needed for children to be able to develop healthy bodies and social and emotional well being. 

Fine motor control and precision will enable children as they begin early writing.  Children require repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and the practice of using small tools.  This practice alongside positive feedback from highly qualified staff will allow children to develop  develop proficiency, control and confidence.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development 

Children’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive development. (Development Matters) 

If children are enabled to develop strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults they are then able to understand their own feelings as well as the feelings of others.  Here are Broadwaters everything we do is built on understanding this fundamental principle.  All of our staff members have undertaken the 'Circle of Security' training which has provided them with the skills needed to create strong and secure attachments with all of our children.  Children are supported to identify and manage their emotions and to develop a positive sense of self as well as being supported to develop the skills needed to develop their own friendships and relationships with their peers. 

Children are also encouraged and supported at every opportunity to develop their self-help and independence skills enabling them to build self confidence and to be ready to explore and learn. 

The specific areas include essential skills and knowledge. They grow out of the prime areas, and provide important contexts for learning. The specific areas are:


It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading.

(Development Matters)

Reading is divided into two parts, language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It will only develop when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together.  Communication and Language is a focus for us in this setting and we strive to ensure that our children are exposed to a language rich environment as well as having the opportunity to take part in conversations and/or back an forth interactions with professionals who are skilled in supporting children to further their development. 

Skilled word reading comes later.  This involves breaking down words into letter sounds to be able to read and write them as well as being able to recognise some words by sight.  Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing).

Here at Broadwaters to support children's Early Reading and Writing we use a structured phonics program called Read Write Inc.


Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically.

(Development Matters)

Children should be able to count confidently and to develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers.  Children in the Early Years should be giving lots of different and varied opportunities to explore numbers to 10.  This will provide children with a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary which further Mathematical development can be built upon. 

A high quality Mathematical curriculum should also provide children with exciting opportunities to explore shape, space and measures.  Here at Broadwaters we understand that it is our responsibility to support children to develop positive attitudes and interests in Mathematics, to help children to look for patterns and relationships, to be able to spot connections and to have the confidence to be willing to have a go.  We encourage our children to talk to adults as well as each other about the things that they notice and to ensure children feel secure so that they are not afraid to make mistakes. 

Understanding of the World 

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community (Development Matters)

Here at Broadwaters we fully understand that the best way to help children to learn about and make sense of the world around them is to expose them to it.  We embed into our planning as many trips and visits as we can, for example, from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters.

It is also important to expose children to a broadselctionof books, stories, infomration books, poems and rhymes.  This helps children to develop their understanding of our wonderfully culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world.  This will also help to enrich and widen children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.

We are fortunate to serve a wide and colourful community. This provides us with the natural links to providing our children with rich experiences that enable them to learn about different cultures and religions and to develop an in-depth understanding into what makes them unique. 

Expressive Arts and Design 

The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity

(Development Matters).

Children at Broadwaters have the opportunity to egnage with the arts by exploring a range of different tools and media, for example, paints, blocks, chalks and collage materials. The quality and variety of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts. The frequency, repetition and depth of their experiences are fundamental to their progress in interpreting and appreciating what they hear, respond to and observe.

Our Nursery prides itself on providing a safe and caring environment that offers the children both the opportunity to have fun and learn at the same time. To access Development Matters 2021 which is Government's curriculum guidance for early years.