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Crosfield & Selhurst Nursery School

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Core Learning Experiences


Our 7 Core Learning Experiences

Our curriculum is built around 7 core learning experiences we want children to grow and develop in throughout their time at nursery.



  • Children develop a strong relationship with key nursery adults. They separate from their main carer and become involved in their play. They know who to turn to readily for reassurance, are beginning to feel valued and develop a sense of ‘ownership’ of the nursery space. They learn to follow nursery routines e.g. self-registration with their name and photo.
  • Children follow their own interests, thoughts, and ideas. They follow nursery routines e.g., to ‘put resources back where they belong’. They play alongside their friends and join in shared activities with them, communicating and learning to share, take turns and negotiate.
  • Children become increasingly confident in their own competence and decision-making. They follow increasingly challenging nursery routines e.g., to self-register without a photo prompt.
  • Children develop positive attitudes and skills e.g., curiosity, resilience, persistence, and self-regulation.


Exploring and investigating

  • Children explore their surroundings, both indoors and outside. They use all their senses and are learning to comment and ask questions about what they find.
  • Children investigate using real tools and resources and are learning to use these with increasing co-ordination and control. They talk about what they see and what they are doing.
  • Children show increasing interest in their surroundings. They notice and are learning to comment on patterns and change. They are curious about why things happen and how things work.
  • Children are confident and curious. They engage in deep learning, are keen to find out about their environment and know some strategies to support them in this.


Climbing and balancing

  • Children develop core physical skills e.g., large arm movements and those which ‘cross the mid-line’ of their body. They climb steps, learning to put one foot on each. They push with their feet to move ‘ride along’ toys. They build towers with blocks.
  • Children climb up and over the top of ‘A’ frames, balancing on planks between. They use scooters and ride bikes, learning to push the pedals. They develop skills requiring balance and co-ordination e.g., to kick or roll a ball.
  • Children ride confidently, steering to avoid obstacles and learning to pull trailers or pedal uphill. They use upper arm strength e.g., to roll or throw a ball, hammer in a boundary peg.
  • Children are confident in assessing risk and setting themselves appropriately increasing challenges. They demonstrate co-ordination and control in a range of large and small movements.


Making and creating

  • Children explore a range of resources. They engage in ‘messy’ play, begin to mix colours, and may start to use glue or tape to join materials together. They take part in pretend play and are learning to express themselves in different ways.
  • Children represent themselves, their experiences and objects using a range of different media e.g., paint, recyclable materials, construction, ‘small world’ resources. They are learning different skills and techniques e.g., to join materials together and they begin to sustain pretend play co-operating and negotiating with their friends.
  • Children make more complex representations. They use one-handed tools and equipment with increasing precision and control.
  • Children think about what they want to do or make and are confident to select the materials and resources they will need. They use available resources creatively to extend their play.



  • Children share books and rhymes with a familiar adult. They may point to/ comment on the pictures and begin to join in with familiar rhymes. They take part in pretend play and begin to make up their own ‘stories’.
  • Children engage in core rhymes, joining in with the actions e.g., showing 4 fingers. They recognise and join in with the repeated refrains in familiar core texts. They use props and resources in their pretend play, taking on different characters and developing a narrative with their friends.
  • Children follow a narrative sequence and talk about familiar stories. They begin to hear and notice rhymes and to recognise words with the same initial sound. They begin to develop extended role play scenarios with their friends.
  • Children sustain interest and engagement in a range of texts. They will retell a familiar story and may suggest their own alternative ending. They begin to recognise familiar sounds and will use these within their communication.


Autonomous learning

  • Children make choices about what they want to do. They learn where nursery resources are kept and begin to access these to support their play. They are learning to manage their own self-care and hygiene needs.
  • Children use nursery resources confidently, combining these to extend their play.  They know to ask for help when they need it. They follow nursery rules and routines. They say number names in sequence. They begin to recognise small groups of up to three objects without needing to count them.
  • Children make decisions about what they want to do and access the materials and resources they need. They begin to understand why we need rules and follow these without being reminded. They ask questions to extend their own learning and independently follow simple, familiar instructions e.g., to make playdough. They manage their own self-care and hygiene needs.
  • Children have a secure sense of ‘ownership’ of the environment and use their Learning Journal to talk about their learning and experiences at nursery.


Ready, steady, go to school

  • Children demonstrate friendly behaviour towards others and an awareness of how others might be feeling.
  • Children are effective communicators. They communicate their needs and talk about their own interests and learning.
  • Children show resilience and perseverance in overcoming challenges and difficulties. They are confident to contribute to shared endeavour.
  • Children know they are valued and respected. They take pride in their achievements. They talk about their learning and what helps them to persevere or self-regulate when they find things hard. They have confidence to participate successfully in Primary School transition arrangements.
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