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How We Learn


The Early Years
Foundation Stage

There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.

Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving.


These are the prime areas:

• communication and language

• physical development

• personal, social and emotional development

Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.


The specific areas are:

• literacy

• mathematics

• understanding the world

• expressive arts and design


We believe that children develop in the context of relationships and the environment around them. This is unique to each family, and reflects individual communities and cultures.

The ways in which the child engages with other people and their environment is called the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’.

These characteristics hold that children learn by:

  • Playing and exploring – finding out and exploring, playing with what they know and being willing to have a go.

  • Being Active Learners – being involved and concentrating, keeping trying and enjoying achieving what they set out to do,

  • Creating and Thinking Critically – having their own ideas, making links, choosing ways to do things.

Full details of these can be viewed on the following websites:

Our Learning Journey

Esklets uses a ‘planning in the moment’ ethos, where children get to choose their own activities and resources to shape their own learning journey. Child initiated play has shown to be the best way for children to be happy and engaged in their play within our setting. When a child is deeply engaged in their play, they are learning! To make sure the child is getting the most out of their play, Esklets practitioners will provide quality interactions with children to enhance their learning. Our practitioners are highly skilled at knowing where a child is in their learning journey and what input they need to progress.

Focus Children – Once every few weeks your child will be chosen to be a ‘focus child’. This means Esklets practitioners will spend more 1-1 time with your child, observing their play and seeing how they are progressing in their development. Prior to their focus week, a letter will be sent to you with information about this. We also ask a few questions about your child’s current interests, hobbies or things going on in their life. At the end of the child’s focus week, a copy of the practitioners observations and photographs will be sent to you.

Parent Involvement – At Esklets, we pride ourselves on our positive relationships with children and their families. We strive to work well in partnership with all members of  child’s family. Please feel free to ask about your child’s time at Esklets, or to chat to us of any issues you may have. We can always make time to meet with you and answer any questions you may have.

We love to receive photographs of special times for your children away from the setting. You can send these anytime to our email These will be displayed on our ‘News from home’ board’.


Our Environment

The environment is presented in well-defined spaces such as the construction area, the messy play area and the mark making area. Each has an appropriate range of resources selected to meet the needs and interests of the children. We hope that we have created an environment that is exciting, purposeful, challenging and supportive. The emphasis is on child initiated play as children learn most when they are interested. Our planning is designed to help the children progress towards the early learning goals of the foundation stage. Our staff are skilled in observing each child, noting their interests, skills and needs these observations are then assessed to decide what they tell us about each child so that we can plan the learning activities and experiences, provide the appropriate resources and plan the practitioner’s role so that we can challenge and extend the child’s current learning and development.

As children get older we start to introduce more adult-led activities in a small group, beginning to teach specific skills such as early phonics and maths. We also read stories and sing songs as a group every day to focus on language development, listening skills and a fostering a love of books.

Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and the age of five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important. Good parenting and high quality early and preschool learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. Esklets Preschool offers all the requirements of the EYFS, offering play based learning appropriate to your child’s needs, interests and abilities.

Two Year Old
Progress Check

When a child is aged between 2 and 3 it is a requirement of the revised EYFS that we must review their progress in partnership with the parents. We must provide you with a short written summary of your child’s development in the prime areas. This must identify their strengths and any areas where the child’s progress is less than expected. We must then identify what additional support may be required to help your child progress. We will do this in partnership with parents and will only provide the check when your child is fully settled into Esklets.


Meeting Needs

We are committed to providing caring and nurturing for all children at Esklets. We have a very experienced staff who can meet the diverse needs of children. Our staff will observe your child’s individual needs and plan a curriculum to meet their developmental needs as well as promoting their inclusion as a valued member of our setting.

We have undertaken specific training in such things as Makaton and Autism. Staff regularly attend training provided by NYCC to keep up to date with current thinking. Our links with local schools also help when the time comes to transfer to school.

For more information see our ‘Valuing Diversity and Promoting Equality’ and ‘SEND’ policies. You can also obtain more information from the Local Offer at NYCC.  

Our SENCO is Vicky Howe.  She can be contacted for further details about our policy of inclusion and how Esklets can meet the needs of individual children on 01287 660173 or by emailing


Esklets has close links with the local primary schools. We work together to ensure children transfer happily to school. Staff from local schools attend the setting regularly to get to know the children. We have also worked with children moving on to other schools. We work closely with local childminders and other pre-school settings.

Danby CE VC Primary School (

Yeat - Home (

Yeat - Home (

Yeat - Home (



We plan outings and visitors to enrich the regular curriculum. We have visited the local fire station, doctors surgery, chapel, National Park centre, Local Woodland. We have been on train journeys and regularly go on walks around the village. Parents are usually invited to accompany their children on outings. These are a social event for everyone and provide the children with valuable experiences. Please try and join us. Any ideas for outings will be gratefully received.


We have had many visitors including, a vet, nurse, dental nurse, police officer, ponies, dogs, lambs, kids and babies. If  you have any special talents, such as playing an instrument, dancing, baking, or sewing, please tell us. We welcome any parent who wishes to stay and help during a session. An extra pair of hands is always welcome as an interested adult is the children’s greatest resource. We hope to help our children learn about the wider world through stories and experiences, as well as about the community in which they live.

What to bring

Please bring the things your child will need in a child-sized bag as our cloakroom area is small!

  • Children need a change of clothes in case they get wet or have an 'accident'

  • Please bring nappies and wipes if needed. 

  • If your child is staying for lunch please provide a healthy packed lunch

  • Children need a weather appropriate coat every day. We have plenty of waterproof trousers, wellies, woolly hats, sunhats etc for children to use

  • If your child arrives in wellies or muddy boots, please bring a pair of indoor shoes or slippers

  • It is best not to bring toys from home as they can easily become mislaid

Many of our activities are messy - please bring children dressed in clothes and shoes that you don't mind them getting dirty!



We have a large, well-resourced arts and sensory area indoors, and a workshop outside with a woodwork area and space to paint and model-make. Children are encouraged to develop skills and to use resources independently.


Our music station in the 'big shed' has a range of percussion instruments and a keyboard for children to access freely. We sing lots of action songs, and learn traditional rhymes and how to make rhythms during circle times.

Motor skills

Children can't sit at a table and hold a pencil until they have strong core muscles! We ensure that varied activities develop these muscles well. Enticing mark-making areas encourage children to want to write and draw.


Adults model good communication, introducing children to aspirational new words through conversation, experiences and books. Children are encouraged to use language to express their needs, resolve disagreements and develop their thinking.


A range of interesting maths resources encourage children to explore and develop knowledge. Adult led activities  directly teach skills such as counting and early addition or subtraction through songs and stories.


Fun adult-led games introduce children to Phase 1 Phonics, through activities such as listening games, hearing initial sounds and rhyming words. When they start to show an interest children are taught to begin forming the letters in their name.

Social skills

Adults support children to become confident and resilient - able to navigate the complex world of friendships! We support children to take turns, to share, to wait; and to express how they are feeling.


Our children become more and more independent in self-care skills as they develop. Children learn to use the toilet and wash their hands independently, dress themselves, eat and drink independently and think about their personal safety.

Outside Play

We go outside every day, whatever the weather! Children have space to move freely, developing their muscles and motor skills. They learn about the world, observing seasons and finding out about animals and life cycles.

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