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Welcome to Okehampton Primary School's Nursery

Transition into Nursery


Starting Nursery is a new and exciting experience.  However, both parents and children can sometimes feel apprehensive about the changes ahead.  We aim to make the transition as smooth and as positive for all involved. 


Taster Session


During the first week, you and your child will be invited into the Nursery for a taster session which will last around two hours.  This session allows the children the opportunity to look around the setting and meet some of the children who will be in their sessions.  There will also be a time during this session for you to meet and chat to the staff about your child, including their previous childcare experiences, their general development, their interests and share other relevant information or concerns you have about them starting Nursery.  Any information shared during this session helps staff to plan for your child's first day and ensures the move into Nursery is as smooth as possible.


Following the taster session, the children will be gradually integrated into the Nursery.  Experience has shown that a staggered entry into the Nursery allows children to have an enjoyable and relaxed start to their Nursery education.  Therefore, it may take a few weeks before all of the children have been settled in the Nursery.  Once your child has had their first session, they will then carry on with their normal hours.  If a delayed entry presents any particular problems, please inform us as soon as possible.


Helpful hints for a successful start to Nursery


Many parents or carers often worry about how they can best prepare their child for starting Nursery.  We have put together some helpful hints in order to support your child as they enter this new and exciting phase of their lives. 


We encourage all children to be independent learners as soon as they start in school.  It is therefore important that children are given the best opportunities from home to support them with this independence.  It would be helpful if you were to buy items of clothing that are easy for the children to take on and off themselves.  This might be a fun activity to try before your child starts in Nursery.  Remember to purchase shoes with velcro on rather than lace up shoes, so children can easily remove and replace their own footwear.


If your child is not yet toilet trained, the Nursery staff are able to help with their personal hygiene needs until they are able to do this independently.  We will also work with parents to encourage this independence.  If your child is already toilet trained, please encourage your child to wipe their own bottom at home.


It would also be helpful if you could encourage your child to put on and take off their own coat and use a tissue to wipe their own nose.


Top Tips for parents / carers


  • Be organised - Nothing is going to make that first day at Nursery more fretful than trying to find a change of everything in the morning.  Pack your child's bag in advance every night before a Nursery day.
  • Get label happy - One of the banes of Nursery life is losing possessions as something will inevitably go astray.  You can minimise losses by encouraging your child to look after their own belongings, putting things away in bags and hanging items on specific pegs.  When it comes to labelling clothing, maybe ask your child to choose a specific symbol that is their own unique mark, perhaps a smiley face or a star, to help them recognise their own belongings at a glance.  Remember that other children in the setting will be wearing similar clothing of the same size and so name labels are the only way of truly identifying which items belong to each child.
  • See them settle - One of the reasons children may cry when you drop them off at Nursery is the anticipation of having to leave their parent.  We have found, through experience, that the quicker children get used to being dropped off, the children tend to settle better and trust that their parents will return .  Please rest assured that staff will always phone you if your child is unsettled and we are also happy to phone to tell you that your child is OK as well!
  • Plan a distraction - Whether it is coffee with your Mum or a shopping trip with a friend, make sure you have something fun to keep you occupied during those first few days when your child starts Nursery.  If you can meet up with another parent who is an old hand at dropping off children, even better, as they can help reassure you that your child will be having a fantastic time.
  • Hide your tears - It can be extremely emotional when first leaving your child at Nursery as you have to accept that your child is starting a new chapter in their lives.  We all know that they grow up too fast!  Put on a brave face though in front of your children and remember that when that first day is over, you can start the age old tradition of asking, "What did you do at Nursery today?"  It is extremely common for most children to reply, "Nothing" and so we do display copies of our planned learning opportunities for you to view in our Nursery porch.


What does my child need to wear?


At Okehampton Primary School Nursery, the children do not need to wear school uniform.  However, whilst your child is at Nursery they will engage in a range of messy and creative play activities both indoors and outdoors.  We therefore request that you send your child in comfortable and suitable clothing and footwear for such activities.  Children will need a spare bag of clothes which can be kept on their peg incase a change of clothing is required.  Children are encouraged to manage their own shoes and coats, so styles which are easy for children are requested.


What equipment does my child need?


  • a named waterproof coat.
  • a bag containing named spare clothes. 
  • Please supply your own nappies, wet wipes, nappy sacks, etc if your child requires them.


It is not advisable to bring in toys from home as they will inevitably become lost.  We have lots and lots of toys in our Nursery for the children to play with and so please keep your toys from home, at home.


What happens at Nursery during a typical day?


Meet and Greet


At 8.55am, a member of staff will open the doors and so your child can enter the Nursery.  On arrival, please help your child to find their photograph and place it on their rainbow, then help them to find an activity that they would like to do.  If your child is staying for lunch then they should take their packed lunch to the kitchen where it will be placed in a cupboard.  If your child is having a school lunch then a member of staff will be in the kitchen to take your money and note down your child's choice.  During your child's first few sessions, please feel free to stay with them for as long as you feel is necessary.


Typical morning routine


The children spend some time enjoying a range of learning activities, eg: counting, word matching, browsing through books, when they first enter Nursery to allow them some time to settle.  Staff then ring a bell and gather the children together on the carpet to have a discussion about the learning that is planned for the day.  This may sometimes be done in two smaller groups so that the learning introduced can be more specific to the children's individual needs.  The input for this session is normally based on the Letters and Sounds phonic teaching programme or it will have a Mathematics theme.  Children will be given access to many learning activities, both indoors and outdoors over the morning, where they will be learning independently or with an adult for a more focused teaching input.  During this time, children will also have access to the Reception playground where they will be able to use the large equipment.  In addition to the large group time, the children will also have opportunities to participate in smaller group activities.  Children have opportunities over the week to visit the Music and Drama Hall within the main school and take part in a planned physical education program entitled "Leap into Life".  Children do not need to change into a PE kit for these sessions as it is all about learning new physical skills in a short sharp lesson.  At approximately 11.30am, a bell will be rung and the children will participate in a "tidy up time" rhyme.  All of the children are then encouraged to help tidy up the Nursery before listening to a story and joining in with some rhymes.  At 11.55am the doors will be opened for the children to go home.


Morning snack routine


During the morning routine, the Nursery has a cafe style snack system operating.  The Government provides a range of fruit and vegetables free to the school for the EYFS and KS1 children.  We support the children over a period of weeks to become independent in accessing the cafe and to help themselves to a piece of fruit or a vegetable each morning.  Parents are often amazed at the range of fruit and vegetables that the children will try, which they wouldn't necessarily attempt at home.  We also provide the children with milk or water at this time.  Parents should not provide any alternatives for snack unless a child has a recognised medical condition. 




At lunchtime, children who are staying for lunch stay within our Nursery in order to eat their lunch.  Children have the option of bringing in their own packed lunch from home or eating one of our delicious school meals.  The children are supported by two MTA's (Meal Time Assistants).


If you feel you may be entitled to Free School Meals, please speak to the office staff and complete the relevant paperwork.


Typical afternoon routine


The afternoon session is structured in the same way as the morning routine.


Security at the end of each session


Teaching staff will open the classroom doors and children will be asked to leave the room one at a time, once a parent or carer has been observed.  It is extremely important to us that your child is safe and we will only allow another adult to collect your child if parents have given staff permission to do so.  Should you wish any other person to collect your child, we ask you to either telephone our school office or notify the Nursery teacher in writing, in advance.


What will the children be learning?


"Children develop quickly in the early years and early years practitioners aim to do all they can to help children have the best possible start in life.  Children have a right, spelled out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to provision which enables them to develop their personalities, talents, and abilities, irrespective of ethnicity, culture or religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties, disabilities or gender." EYFS 2012


At Okehampton Primary School, our aim is to understand and support each individual child's potential as they grow and develop.  In order to do this, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) 2012.  The Foundation Stage was introduced as a distinct phase of education for children aged between 3 - 5 years in September 2000 and use of the Curriculum Guidance became statutory in March 2002.  From September 2008, this became known as the Early Years Foundation Stage and this has set the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to 5 years.


The ways in which your child engages with other people and their environment through playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically, underpins learning and development across all areas and supports your child to remain an effective and motivated learner.


The EYFS has three prime areas and four specific areas of learning that we concentrate on developing within our Nursery and Reception classes.  The prime areas are fundamental, work together and support development in all other areas.


  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development


The specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.


  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design


During the day, the children will experience some adult led focused teaching activities and will also take part in independent learning activities.  Teachers observe children as they act and interact in their play and use information from those observations to plan exciting activities for the children to experience.


Planning is displayed on the notice board in the porch.  Please feel free to come into Nursery and look at the learning taking place.


Special Educational Needs (SEN)


Okehampton Primary School is proud of its commitment to inclusion and we successfully support children with a wide range of needs.  We believe that all children are unique and special and we aim to support each child sensitively whilst ensuring that they reach their own potential.


The support we provide varies from child to child and is focused on the needs of the child.  Some children may have a specific learning difficulty requiring support to access the curriculum, others may, for various reasons, be underachieving and require additional short term help to achieve their full potential.  Some children may have sensory or physical disabilities requiring structured support and/or additional resources.  Children may experience emotional and/or behavioural issues that we are able to help support with working closely with families/ carers to ensure successful outcomes.


We are committed to identifying needs as early as possible and work closely with school staff and parents to implement appropriate strategies, interventions, resources, within the structure of the curriculum, to meet children's needs and to encourage positive self esteem and self confidence (in line with the Department of Education SEN Code of Practice).


Where it is necessary, a provision map or an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be drawn up by the SENCo and Nursery teacher to focus on the child's area of need.  The views of parents and children are an important part of the target setting process and will always be sought.  Targets are regularly reviewed with the Nursery teacher as part of the progress review meetings.  You are always welcome to make additional appointments to discuss your child's needs with the SENCo at any time during the year.


The school has a full time SENCo, whose role it is to identify potential barriers to children's learning and then to work to reduce or eliminate them.  If you have any concerns or questions about your child's development or learning, then please ask at the school office to make an appointment with the SENCo.


Gifted and Talented Children


The school has a register of children who meet the criteria to be gifted or talented.  This may be an aspect of the school curriculum or within an activity the child takes part in outside of school.  Children with a specific gift or talent will be working at a significantly higher level than their peer group.


Children may be nominated for inclusion on the register by both teachers and parents.


The register enables teachers to be aware of those children within their own classes and year groups who may be on the register and allows them to cater for their needs during normal sessions.  There are many enrichment opportunities which children on the register will be invited to take part in should they meet their particular talents or abilities.