Outdoor Play

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West Buckland Nursery has an ideal setting. It is located on the West Buckland School campus which occupies a 98 acre site right on the edge of Exmoor. There is every opportunity for children to explore different outdoor areas and habitats, and to enjoy the wide range of facilities on offer.

Nursery children have access to a lovely, soft-surfaced, extensive, outside covered area which gives them opportunity to play with sand, water and larger equipment whatever the weather. There is also an enclosed Nursery garden with a play house, sandpit and outdoor play equipment. In addition to these two areas, we have a very large playground and grassed area which is shared with Reception and Key Stage 1 children at playtimes. It has three Wendy houses, a large sand pit, a slide, colourful blackboards and a wide variety of both large and small play equipment to give the children plenty of scope to enjoy themselves, exercise and play.

The Prep School has its own adventure playground which provides children with plenty of recreation and fun. It has a rubberised surface for safety and boasts monkey bars, bridges, balance bars and ladders.

The outdoor provision allows children opportunities to explore, play and learn within an extensive, beautiful but secure area.

Specific Areas of Learning

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We aim to do all we can to ensure that your child has the very best start in life. Positive relationships and an enabling environment will ensure that your child has every opportunity to learn and develop. On-going observation and formative assessment of each child allow our highly qualified and experienced staff to find ways to strengthen and develop your child’s learning and development.

The Early Years Foundation Stage comprises three prime areas of learning and development and four specific areas.


Our aim is to maximise children’s experience of letters and sounds to help them develop skills which will lead naturally to reading and writing. Our enthusiastic staff give encouragement, support and confidence to children as they learn about letter sounds, formation and words. Our Nursery is an environment rich in print on walls and colourful displays, and it is full of enticing story and information books. Stories form an exciting part of every day. Every child has reading books to take home to share with parents in order to develop and enhance their experience of the written word.

Writing becomes a natural step in learning as children are surrounded by opportunities to practise their skills using different media to stimulate their interest and motivate their engagement. Writing in sand, on paper, in paint, on whiteboards, in chalk, even in cookery all help to focus and train whilst giving enjoyment and broadened experience.


Our highly qualified and experienced staff ensure that children are given every opportunity to become confident and competent in learning and using key mathematical skills. Practical mathematical experience of number and number language ensure that each child’s mathematical understanding is enhanced. Number stories, songs, games, play and rhymes all help to embed and develop their awareness and conception naturally and with real enjoyment.

Understanding the World

Helping children to develop skills, knowledge and understanding of the world and people around them is a vital part of Nursery life. Stimulating activities are organised to allow children first-hand experience, experimentation and exploration. Children are encouraged to observe, predict and discuss their findings, thereby stimulating interest and curiosity.

Weekly forest school afternoons ensure that the children have first-hand knowledge of the local environment. They explore nature at first hand and learn to empathise with and appreciate the natural world.

Expressive Arts and Design

Our Nursery provides children with wide-ranging experiences which enable them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. They are given opportunities to experiment with colours, with textures and design using paint, scissors, glue, glitter, sand and clay.

The children benefit from specialist music teaching by the Prep School’s inspirational Director of Music, Dominic Carter. They are introduced to a wide range of music. They have opportunities to experiment with different instruments, learning about the way they are played and the sounds they make. They learn songs and add instrumental accompaniments and actions to enhance them.

Dance and drama are important aspects of our children’s development, giving them the opportunity to express themselves and to communicate with an audience composed of their peers in the classroom, or of parents and friends at our eagerly awaited termly events in the 150 Theatre.

Nursery Life

We ensure that our Nursery enables children to feel happy and secure. Happiness and confidence in their environment allow children to become motivated to learn. We provide enjoyable activities which enable them to practise existing skills and to build on those skills to acquire new ones. They are encouraged to investigate, explore and discover every aspect of the world around them. They learn through play, through social interaction and through having fun.

Every day is an opportunity to explore new possibilities and to interact with other children and adults. We endeavour to ensure that children are given as many opportunities as possible to try out new skills, develop relationships and make exciting new discoveries. Children are social learners and interaction with other children and adults is crucial to their development.

We aim to provide the children attending the Nursery unique opportunities that will support and promote their overall development in a safe, stimulating and caring atmosphere, created by highly qualified, knowledgeable, skilful, caring and friendly staff.

The children are introduced to numbers, reading skills, stories, creative activities of all kinds, music, swimming, dance, drama, cooking, friends and the world of play and adventure in the Nursery garden, the outside, covered area and the wider school grounds. Nursery life is a stimulating, wonderful experience. It is where happiness and learning go hand in hand.

Prime Areas of Learning

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Personal, Social and Emotional Development

West Buckland Nursery’s aim is to help children develop a positive sense of themselves and of others, to develop self-confidence, empathy, responsibility and kindness. Interactive play, positive role models and encouragement to talk about and manage their feelings help children to achieve this. They are encouraged to make friends, to share and to behave in a manner that shows respect for each other. This leads to happy children and a happy Nursery environment.

Communication and Language

All children are given opportunities and encouragement to express themselves to each other, to staff and to a wider audience. Their contributions are valued and, in turn, they are helped to value others’ input. Our Nursery staff interact with the children, asking questions and stimulating the children to communicate their ideas.

Understanding is developed by talking with children and helping them to reflect upon and explain events. They listen to and follow carefully worded instructions. They play games requiring them to follow directions. They listen to stories and talk about the sequence of events and about the various characters. They are helped to acquire an ever extending vocabulary by ensuring they have rich experiences accompanied by spoken interaction.

Physical Development

Children in our Nursery have wide opportunities to develop their physical abilities. In PE lessons they learn to run, to change direction, to roll, jump, skip and hop, all of which promote balance and co-ordination. They practise movement skills through games with beanbags, balls and hoops. They use small and large play equipment and have regular access to our Adventure playground. In the Summer Term, parents are invited to our Sports Day which involves children from the Nursery, Reception, Prep One and Prep Two all participating together.

We are lucky to have a 25m heated indoor pool on site which means that West Buckland Nursery children have swimming lessons throughout the year. They are taught by qualified swimming instructors and they are encouraged to swim confidently and safely, progressing at the rate that is right for them.

Fine motor skills are developed through painting, writing, cutting, cooking and through the use of various tools. There is a wide range of construction toys of different sizes and of small play equipment, all of which enhance children’s manipulative skills.

In essence, we provide a stimulating, safe environment in which children may develop, enjoy and gain confidence in their physical abilities.