Skip to content ↓

Learning and Development

At Little Oaks we use ‘In the moment planning’ which enables us to build good relationships with children and follow their interests to create quality learning experiences. As we are a small rural pre-school, we are able to get to know all of our children and families very well and feel that this is one of our strengths. ‘In the moment’ planning helps us to ensure the children’s learning and interests are at the heart of what we do. Our aim is to support your child in becoming more confident, independent and engaged in their learning. We will plan and teach, treating each child as an individual and allowing them to achieve their best.

What is 'In the moment' planning'?

  • A model that allows child initiated learning through play, based on capturing the interests of the children through personalised learning.
  • Teachers take into consideration the children’s interests to create meaningful educational experiences through providing an enabling environment, using quality interactions and ‘teachable moments’.

What are ‘teachable moments’?

Teachable moments are about recognising that young children often learn in a more informal and creative way. Within this style of teaching, we are looking for opportunities to allow learning to take place through child-initiated play alongside providing challenge and open-ended questioning when needed.

What do we do?

  • We provide an environment and opportunities that stimulate curiosity and challenge thinking.
  • We observe and listen closely to the children’s play.
  • We work alongside parents to create environments that will spark the children’s interest.
  • We praise and reinforce positive learning experiences.

How do we record this learning?                                                                                               

At Little Oaks we complete an online Learning Journal for each child using Tapestry software. Tapestry allows you to login with a secure username and password so you can view all your children’s observations, photographs and videos. You can like and comment on observations that we add for your child and it’s also possible for you to add your own observations. Your comments and own observations will allow us to find out about which activities your child really enjoyed and the learning they get up to at home. You will also be notified via email if there are new entries for you to view. Staff will link observations to the Early Years Foundation Stage framework highlighting the relevant area of learning for each observation.

Every two weeks, we select ‘focus children’ from pre-school. These children will be observed, assessed and planned for, to meet their needs and interests. Each child will be a ‘focus child’ for two weeks. We will let you know when your child has been chosen and would be grateful if you could share some photos and observations from home on Tapestry prior to their focus weeks, e.g. current interests, exciting news, activities at home, holidays etc. We will then aim to plan activities around your child’s interests to support them to extend their learning. At the end of the focus period you will be invited to attend an informal meeting at the pre-school to discuss your child’s progress. If you have any concerns about your child’s development or welfare at any other time, please let us know and we will be happy to discuss it with you.

How do we include Mathematical Development and Literacy?

Maths and literacy are both key areas within the Early Years curriculum and we cover both of these through play-based activities during the pre-school session. We follow Letters and Sounds Phase 1 which includes listening walks, identifying sounds, exploration of sounds and sound games. We also use the Floppy’s phonics program to help children to learn their letter sounds and familiarise with the story characters. We have regular singing and story sessions and a range of mark making activities. Learning opportunities are adapted depending on the age/stage of your child throughout their time at pre-school, in preparation for their transition to Reception Class.


Forest School

At Little Oaks we use the glebe area behind our school for Forest School learning and all children attending will have the opportunity to take part. The aim of Forest School is to develop the children’s skills of collaboration, cooperation, team building and awareness of the natural environment, and their knowledge and understanding of the natural world. Children will make their own choices, whilst understanding the risks and challenges of the tasks that they complete. Children will improve their understanding and appreciation of the world around them and the impact of their own actions on the environment.

A full risk assessment is completed and children set their own boundaries at the beginning of each session by tying yellow ribbons around the perimeter of the site. If there is a qualified Forest School leader present then we will have fire but if not, we will still practise safety around the fire circle. We always ensure there is a high ratio of adults to children and parents are welcome to come along and help.