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Nursery at GEMS Wantage Primary Academy


At Gems Wantage Primary Academy, we offer nursery places for children aged 2, 3 and 4. Our curriculum follows the DfE expectations for EYFS (0-5 years); it is planned against 7 areas (3 prime and 4 specific). These  seven  areas  are  used  to  plan  your child’s learning and activities. 


The Prime Areas:


1. Communication and Language: Involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.


2. Physical development: Involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement.  Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.


3. Personal, social and emotional development:

Involves helping children to develop a positive  sense  of  themselves  and  to others to form positive  relationships  and  develop  respect  for  others;  to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.


The Specific areas:

4. Literacy: Involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write.  Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems   and   other   written materials) to ignite their interests.


5. Mathematics: Involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their social skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces and measures.


6. Understanding the World:

Involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.


7. Expressive arts and design: Involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role play and design and technology.


Children at our nursery will learn by playing and exploring, being active and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.


Our Curriculum Intent for nursery: 


For most children, our nursery is the first experience of school education.  With this in mind, our overarching intent is to foster a love of learning through investigating first-hand magic and wonder of our world. We aim to offer them opportunities to explore a wide range of interesting and exciting experiences that ignite curiosity and begin a lifelong love of learning.

Our curriculum coverage is part adult led but also based on the children’s interests, making each year bespoke and unique to the children attending our nursery.  By following the children’s interests, children are more engaged and inspired, allowing us to meet children’s learning needs and enabling all children to achieve their full potential.  At this age, children need a great deal of adult time and attention and our experienced staff give sensitive, appropriate and well-timed support.

For ages 2 and 3/4, we offer a play-based curriculum as it is through play children make sense of their world and engage in deep level learning.  Young children have an enormous capacity for intellectual development, they learn by exploring and investigating, watching and listening, talking and discussing, creating and communicating. It is key for children to ‘have a go’, to be able to learn from their mistakes and try again. We develop this ‘Growth Mindset’ early on and encourage children to take part in a range of activities and experiences. Our school’s nursery lays firm foundations for future learning and provides a rich variety of learning situations to enable the all-round development of each child.  We are flexible and adapt our interactions for individual children’s needs.



Our curriculum has been designed by qualified teachers. Our teachers work closely with highly skilled and qualified teaching assistants to provide learning opportunities that are exciting and engage awe and wonder into the children's lives and improve the quality of education they receive.


Our curriculum starts with children at the centre of all that we do. Children enter nursery school with varying abilities and experiences, and we recognise that parents know their own child best.


In our school’s nursery, staff skillfully observe children and using their expert knowledge of child development and the characteristics of effective learning they sequence learning to ensure continuity and progression through a well-planned curriculum that is constantly enhanced and enriched, and so that children become reflective and resilient learners.


Our learning environments, both indoor and outdoor, provide a safe place where children can develop, explore and investigate. We provide opportunities where two, three and four-year-old children learn together, whilst also ensuring opportunities to work within their age group alongside supporting staff.


When following the children’s interests, we plan for a range of activities and experiences.  Every year we also deliver some pre-planned content such as Autumn, Christmas, nursery rhymes, religious festivals and British traditions.  Though the majority of content (what we teach) may change each year depending on the children’s interests how we deliver the curriculum is consistent.  The areas of effective learning are embedded into everything we do and staff are skilled in teaching and modelling these characteristics to the children. We also ensure there are activities to match each area, including role play, construction, small world and outdoor play.


In the Summer term prior to children starting Reception, increased planned learning challenges are provided that prepare children for the next stage in education.


The language development of each child is the core element of our curriculum. Good speaking and listening skills are the foundation for all other areas of learning, particularly reading, writing and maths.


Nursery school staff model effective communication with children by commenting, asking open questions, modelling key vocabulary and introducing new words to enable children to become confident communicators. As with the rest of GEMs Wantage Primary Academy, quality texts from books and stories are used as starting points for our learning themes.



Our continuous use of assessment ensures that teaching matches the ability of the children and offers real challenge. Children are assessed on entry and records of progress are regularly updated through observation or planned assessment activities. They are also used to group children, according to ability for certain activities and to identify particularly able children or children with S.E.N.  Information is used regularly to track the children’s progress and evaluate next steps for individual and groups of children. Children's achievements are monitored and measured in each child's Learning Journey. Monitoring and evaluation systems will be regularly reviewed and acted upon i.e Planning and Learning Journal scrutinies identify curriculum strengths and areas for improvement so that the Quality of Education is most effective. Teacher and Staff Appraisal systems ensure staff are accountable for our high-quality curriculum