Our Ethos reflects the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS-2012). We have used the four themes of the EYFS (2012) to guide our plans and to express the nursery’s approach to each of them, defining our interpretation of how we intend to deliver the 4 ‘principles of the EYFS’ (2012) in practice.

Click here for the Parents' Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.

a unique child

child development

We understand that each child is a unique individual, maturing and developing at different rates and at different times. At St Mary’s Nursery we value and place equal importance on each area of their development – cognitive, physical, social, linguistic, spiritual and emotional. We will assess progress and plan for next steps for each and every child.

inclusive practice

All children and their families are treated with equal respect, ensuring that everyone feels valued, welcome and included in our nursery.

keeping safe

Feeling safe, cared for and valued is critical to a child’s development and our consistent approach to explaining boundaries, rules and limitations promotes this feeling of staying safe but not over protected.

health and wellbeing

We will provide opportunities for our children to play, explore and learn, recognising their fundamental need to be physically active, to be cared for and to be nurtured according to the individual child’s needs.


positive relationships

respecting each other

At St Mary’s Nursery, our philosophy is to value each child for who they are, to celebrate their differences and to ensure that everyone is appreciated whatever their capabilities, personality, ethnic background or culture.

parents as partners

We see that creating positive relationships with our children’s families is a huge factor in their approach to learning and their development. We are totally committed to making our setting as welcoming and accessible as possible to enable good working relationships with parents.

supporting learning

Our skilled team of practitioners share a clear vision of effective and stimulating teaching – where we really know our children, can identify when their learning is ready to be extended and can offer support specific to an individual.

key person

Our belief is that when a child feels safe, happy and secure through the special bond developed between a child and their key person, the confidence and reassurance this relationship brings is essential to their experience and development in their setting.


enabling environments

observation, assessment and planning

Our planning consists of long, medium and short term plans, identifying how we will implement the EYFS Principles into practise. At the core of our planning process is our focus on the child, observations of what they can do today which influence the planning we do for tomorrow.

supporting every child

Whilst planning activities and experiences for groups of our children, we recognise that each child’s learning journey is an individual one, based on their personal interests and our experiences and so our plans will be flexible enough to provide for alternative learning opportunities when required.

the learning environment

Our indoor and outdoor environment provides a safe, secure but interesting and stimulating space for our children. Our premises are developing all the time – we make sure to respond to the needs of our children by adding equipment, changing the space, creating different learning experiences, but always being mindful to maintain the emotionally secure atmosphere which children thrive in.

the wider context

We work hard to effect positive working relationships with other professionals for the benefit of the children in our nursery setting, e.g. close liaison with St Mary’s Primary School staff ensures smooth transition; sharing best practice at our local Cluster group meetings with other providers; visits from librarians and contact with specialist support professionals for children with special needs. We also promote links with Health Visitors and other outside agencies.


learning development

play and exploration

At St Mary’s Nursery, we plan and resource our environment where children’s play can be supported and extended. As practitioners, developing children’s language, communication and social skills can be achieved through careful and sensitive contribution during their play.

active learning

We recognise that, to optimise children’s learning, we must provide activities and opportunities for learning that are interesting and that children will find motivating and engaging. Tailoring expectations to suit each child so that their needs are met and a sense of achievement experienced, promotes a positive attitude to further learning.

creativity and critical thinking

We give children many opportunities to play and experiment in different situations and with a range of tools, props and other resources. We regularly consult parents about how their children play at home and strive towards an appropriate balance of child-initiated and adult led activities.

areas of learning and development

As practitioners, we understand that each of the ‘seven areas of learning’ are equally important and that for children especially, these areas are closely linked to one another and not independent of each other.