Welcome to the St Nicholas Early Years

We have 4 EYFS classes at St Nicholas School which includes 3 classes based at Parkside Primary School: Butterfly Class (Reception), Ladybird Class (Reception and Year One) and Bumblebee Class (Year One), and one class at mainsite: Rainbow Fish Class (Year One).

All children have an EHCP (Education and Health Care Plan) and although some may be based off-site, they are all on roll at St Nicholas School. 

Our Specialist Intervention Nursery, Caterpillars, is also based at our Parkside site.

Early Years Foundation Stage Vision

St Nicholas School aims to support children to become engaged in the world around them and give support to help them to find their inner resources of curiosity and enthusiasm, so that they can enjoy engaging with learning, developing positive relationships along the way. We encourage all children to experience themselves positively and believe that nurturing and respecting the child’s self-autonomy will lead them to recognise their own ideas, skills and knowledge leading to a positive sense of self. We aim to provide a stimulating, child-focused environment that facilitates independent learning. We value the importance of developing children’s personal, social and emotional development and recognise it is crucial in supporting healthy development, leading happy lives and promoting cognitive development. 

We have four main outcomes for the Early Years:

To be able to:

  • Separate from their parents or carers and enjoy the opportunities school provides
  • Develop their functional communication and language skills, and find the value in using communication to get needs met and express thoughts and feelings. This may be through signs, symbols, PECS, technology and/or spoken language.
  • Engage with learning both in self- directed tasks and adult led activities, and begin to view themselves as part of a social group.
  • Take increasing responsibility for aspects of themselves, for example tidying up, dressing, toileting and feeding themselves, and self-soothing when distressed.

We acknowledge that for some children medical and physical aspects may influence their outcomes. Where personal, social and emotional difficulties present as a barrier to learning, further support may be required, in the form of Behaviour Support plans or referral to other services within the school at this stage.

Staff are well trained and experienced in Early Years, and appreciate and celebrate neurodiversity. 

Areas of Learning

There will be an emphasis within the EYFS on Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and language.  This is to acknowledge that all children who are in the Foundation Key Stage, either at Caterpillar Class (pre-school/nursery),  Butterfly, Rainbow Fish, Bumblebee or Ladybird Classes will be experiencing difficulties with their personal, social and emotional development.  In many instances, this will be due to Autistic Spectrum Conditions, but for many others independence skills and coping with learning in a social setting can be challenging. Related to this are the difficulties with Communication and Language. Our role is to teach functional communication and language, to develop and use augmented communication systems and provide a social learning environment to practise these skills and have meaningful purpose. Other areas of learning include Physical Development, Literacy and Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.

Learning for Life: Characteristics of Effective Learning

St Nicholas School recognises the importance of promoting positive dispositions by providing living experiences of making choices, innovating, taking responsibility, facing challenge, thinking flexibly and critically and learning how to learn in the Early Years so that they will be able to respond to their future experiences with confidence.

Playing and Exploring

This is all about how the child engages with their learning.     

  • Finding out and exploring
  • Playing with what they know
  • Being will to ‘have a go’

Active Learning

How the child is motivated in their learning. 

  • Being involved and concentrating
  • Keeping on trying
  • Enjoying and achieving what they set out to do

Creating and Thinking Critically

All about children thinking, making choices, seeing connections between different skills and making sense of their experiences and interactions. Linking ideas and previous experiences. 

  • Having their own ideas
  • Using what they know to learn new things
  • Choosing ways to do things and finding new ways

Enrichment Experiences

Children within the EYFS will have access to an increasing range of social experiences that complement learning within the school. Classes will have the opportunity to attend key seasonal events such as Harvest Festival, Christmas and Easter celebrations, as well as be part of performances and workshops from visiting artistic companies. Children will go for walks in the local area and trips off-site at times throughout the year.  

Further information on the EYFS can be found here:


Birth to Five Matters 

Development Matters 

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