Welcome to Norham's Early Years

At Norham we offer provision for Nursery and Reception aged children within an Early Years Unit. Children are welcome from age of three to join our Nursery and can start as they turn aged three. Our unit supports children to confidently grow, develop and build curiosity to learn throughout their Early Years journey. Children are able to flourish and learn following interests, and experience learning through a very hands-on practical approach.

Norham’s Early Years offers opportunities for children to play that are structured around the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance to ensure that all children receive a quality experience that supports their development and learning. We provide well planned experiences indoors and outdoors based on child’s interests, alongside topic-based learning opportunities planned to encompass all areas of the Early Years Curriculum. We provide a variety of learning experiences that are not only of interest to the children, but also building on what they already know!

Our routines, activities and Early Years environments are designed to enhance curriculum areas, offering them opportunities to play and practice their growing skills, ensuring that every child has an opportunity to learn and develop at a pace that is suitable to them. Our staff team will support all children to learn with enjoyment and challenge, having a balance of child initiated and adult led play-based activities. Children can build independent learning and skills across all areas of the curriculum through planned ‘Diamond Challenges’ that allow children to revisit and experience new learning opportunities.

We observe and assess your child on a regular basis to identify and track the progress they are making. This helps us to ensure we are providing appropriate support and learning opportunities to develop every child through their Early Years experiences. Observations help practitioners to decide where the children are in their learning and development, and to plan next steps. Observations and photographs of your child will be placed in their own Learning Journey. This document captures their learning from the first day they start at Norham’s through to leaving us. We encourage parents and other family members to contribute to this document throughout your child’s time at our school. We feel it is important to share learning and experiences both at school and at home. We pride ourselves on being a friendly and welcoming place for all families and children.

At Norham we provide a nurturing, positive and energetic atmosphere where our professional and caring team inspire and enable children to discover their individuality and creativity giving them a positive attitude to learning and building confidence. Your child will begin their journey through educational play, early language, healthy lifestyles and an understanding of the world, learning all the skills they need to help them grow and flourish.

Outdoor Learning

We believe that every child should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development and that is why we have made this one of our Key Priorities at Norham. The outdoor environment has massive potential for providing learning opportunities. We are extremely fortunate to have a forest school area. school pond, woodland area, outdoor classrooms, wild garden area, planters and large outdoor space to explore and discover the natural world.

The journey through education for your child at Norham will include a series of planned, quality outdoor learning experiences. Learning outdoors is part of our wide range of practical approaches to developing skills. Opportunities for outdoor learning supports and enhances all curriculum areas and help develop personal and social skills, communication, problem solving, thinking skills and teamwork, as well as English, Mathematics and all other curriculum areas.

Outdoor learning experiences are often remembered for a lifetime. Integrating learning and outdoor experiences, whether through play in the immediate grounds or adventures further afield, provides relevance and depth to the curriculum in ways that are difficult to achieve indoors.

Benefits of outdoor learning:

  • higher levels of conversational language.
  • greater independence.
  • improved health and sleeping patterns.
  • greater physical competence and agility.
  • improved time focus on activities and more concentration.
  • a greater understanding of nature and the environment.
  • improved social skills, involvement and initiative.
  • more opportunities to experience risk-taking. 
  • the freedom to make discoveries.

Our Early Years Curriculum in action

We are always busy at Norham First School. With many events occurring that we need to explore, discover and investigate. View the headings below to find out about some of our learning adventures.

In Reception, there are daily whole class teaching carpet sessions that include handwriting, phonics, mathematics, literacy, science, geography, history and RE as well as weekly Circle time, PSHE, PE sessions, music and Art. We plan half termly topics that we feel will inspire the children’s curiosity, understanding and development. All seven main areas of learning are incorporated into the outdoor curriculum and planning is cross curricular across all areas. Our curriculum provides children with the opportunity to develop skills and enhance learning through a practical and fun approach.

A Dragon Discovery

We have found dragon eggs in the school grounds that we had to nurture and build a safe nest to support the egg. We looked for prints or marks to try and find the Dragon who had lost her egg. We shared stories, drew pictures and created a newspaper page. Then our school security cameras caught video image of what happened next!

Cops and Robbers

The children came into school one morning to discover that all our toy boxes had gone missing. We set to work to discover what had happened and who could be responsible! The children used UV torches to find fingerprints, measured footprints left on the carpet, photographed evidence, looked for clues and brought in Alfie our school dog to smell for clues! The children wrote up evidence sheets and then explored the school grounds looking for prints and further evidence before finding our toys hidden in the outdoor classroom, We suspected it to be Grandma Swagg.

A Very Mad Event!

The children were planning a Mad Hatters Tea party. They wrote invitations, created a shopping list, made table artwork, crafted clay cups and their own mad hat. They set the table and prepared the food. Then we heard that Miss McLeod had disappeared and that the children had received a special video. She had mistakenly drunk a magic potion that had turned her quite mad! During our Alice in Wonderland tea party Miss McLeod turned up and had a wonderfully mad time, eating a teacup and saucer! The children warned Miss McLeod about safety and not to eat or drink anything that you don’t know what it is.

Careers week

The children enjoyed a careers week meeting many different people in our community and finding out about their job role and how they help people. The police came in and talked about keeping people safe and stranger danger, we looked at the different vehicles they use. We meet local paramedics and observe an emergency first aid situation before exploring inside an ambulance. The fire service came to visit us and we looked at their uniform and kit they wear to carryout their job. The children had the opportunity to sit inside the fire engine and find out about the functions and equipment before trialling the hose ourselves! A veterinary nurse came to talk about pet care and how they look after different animals.

We also met a volunteer from the RNLI that told us about water safety and we practised safety actions if we were floating on water. The children then meet a guide dog, and found out how she helps her owner with day to day tasks and keeping people safe.