At Riding Mill Outdoor Preschool, all children are supported in developing their potential at their own pace.

We offer an exciting, stimulating mainly outdoor environment which includes staff who are highly qualified to support children to learn through play. Staff use the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum as a basis for their continuous evaluation of children’s learning.

The areas of learning in the EYFS are outlined on the right:

Within a nurturing environment, children are individually supported in developing confidence, autonomy and self-respect and respect for others.

They are encouraged to work and concentrate independently and also take part in the life of the group, sharing and co-operating with other children and adults.

Through activities, conversation and practical example, they learn acceptable ways to express their own feelings and to have respect for the feelings of others.

All children are given the opportunity, as appropriate, to take responsibility for themselves and also for the group, its members and its property.

Children are encouraged to talk and listen in all areas and at all times in preschool, mainly just as they play, but also through more structured adult-lead activities such as listening to and responding to stories, songs and rhymes. Encouraging language is at the heart of everything we do in preschool.

A very high level of adult supervision enables children to safely create and meet a wide variety of physical challenges, developing increasing skill and control in moving, climbing and balancing. At the same time, children are helped to develop the fine motor skills they will need to use tools, including pencils and pens, and to handle small objects with increasing control and precision. They are also encouraged to develop awareness of their own bodies and of what keeps them healthy and safe.

Children are encouraged to understand that written symbols carry meaning, to be aware of the purposes of writing and when they’re ready to use drawn and written symbols for themselves.

Children are encouraged to look at and refer to books throughout preschool, whether in our cosy book corner in our yurt, in our tents, or in the engineering shed. Mark making forms the foundation for later writing and is also encouraged throughout preschool, whether drawing a picture of a flower or a dinosaur or family, drawing a plan for building or a map, writing a recipe or taking an order for food.

Mark making is encouraged with a wide variety of tools and materials, including pencils, chalk, paint, mud, sticks etc Children take part in both structured and spontaneous activities to encourage them to tune in to sounds – starting with everyday sounds we hear around us and progressing through increasingly smaller units of sound to individual sounds in words. These vital skills, known as ‘phonological awareness’, form the foundation for learning to read and write.

By means of adult-supported practical experience, children become familiar with the sorting, matching, ordering, sequencing and counting activities which form the basis for early mathematics. As they use their developing mathematical understanding to solve practical problems, children are assisted to learn and use the vocabulary of mathematics, identifying objects by shape, position, size, volume, and number. Songs, games and picture books help children become aware of number sequences and when they are ready, to use simple mathematical operations such as adding and subtracting.
An exciting and stimulating environment allows children to observe, experiment and explore the world around. They learn to recognise differences, patterns and similarities, and to share and record their findings. Children are assisted in exploring and understanding their environment, both within their group and also in the wider community. They learn to respect other people, and expect to be respected themselves. A range of safe and well-maintained equipment enables the children to extend their technological understanding, using simple tools and techniques as appropriate to achieve their intentions and to solve problems.
Children are encouraged to use a wide range of resources in order to express their own ideas and feelings, and to construct their individual response to experience in two and three dimensions. Resources in our engineering shed include woodwork tools and wood, paint, glue, crayons and pencils and clay, as well as natural and discarded/recycled resources provide for open-ended exploration of colour, texture, and the development of skills in painting, drawing and collage and woodwork. Children join in with and respond to music and stories, and there are many opportunities for imaginative role play, both individually and as part of a group.
We aim to provide equality and opportunity for all children at the preschool and this includes children with special educational needs. Each child is able to to progress at his/her own pace in all areas of development, and this is true for children with and without disabilities or learning difficulties. We operate in accordance with the government’s Code of Practice on special educational needs and our full special needs policy is available at the preschool.