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Ladybird Children's Nursery Learning Philosophy

Your Child is in Great Hands

Key Person Approach

Starting nursery is an exciting time for children and their families, but it can be nerve-wracking too. Children’s first years are completely centred around their parents and families and the relationships they build can impact them forever. That’s why every child is assigned a key person when starting nursery. Your key person is the familiar face for you and your child at nursery.

The key person approach allows Early Years Educators to create a special bond with your child, enabling a positive relationship to be built. With strong attachments to support your child’s well-being, they can feel happy and confident and able to leave you, full of excitement and positive emotions and ready to engage in their learning.

It is important to us that every child has a buddy key worker so that they can feel safe and secure at nursery. And over time your child will develop new relationships and begin to form attachments with some of our other amazing Early years Educators too.

Parents as Partners

Children and families are at the heart of everything we do and we believe in forming strong partnerships with our families. Parents are their child’s primary educators and are highly experienced in the care that their child requires. A parent’s knowledge of their own child and the things that make them unique help us to do the best for each child.

We plan in the moment with the children, because children’s interests and motivations are always developing. We will ask you to update your child’s online learning journey so that we can stay up to date on what’s most relevant and important in your child’s life at any time. We have regular parent’s evenings and encourage open conversation at handovers to make sure that the communication between you and your child’s key person is strong.

The EYFS states, “Good parenting and high-quality learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.” That’s why the partnership between nursery and home is so essential.

We value the individuality and diversity of our families and welcome any contributions from parents so that we can share, embrace and celebrate our rich community.

Teaching in the moment

Play is often free of adult intervention and a degree of learning happens quite naturally. Sensitive adults who have an understanding of the individual child can also play an important role, guiding and building upon the child’s current skills and knowledge within the process of their play.

Teaching at Ladybird is not formal. It is centered around the child in response to their interests and developmental stage. Through careful observation and intervention, we can capture the ‘teachable moment’ and make a difference to the child’s progression at that very point when they are most motivated and involved. This moment may be during play, but could also occur through conversational interactions, or an adult led activity.

Teaching and planning in the moment is not new. It is exactly what responsive parents are with their children every day. Every time our Early Years Educators are looking at and listening to our children they are assessing and planning how best to respond and teach, to meet the child’s next steps in the moment. The teaching is in the moment and is uniquely suited to the child, seizing the opportunity to extend their learning when they are already engaged, involved and motivated.

Enabling and Authentic Environments

Our indoor and outdoor environments are designed to provide space for freedom through active play. They are equipped with accessible and open-ended resources that children can use freely to explore and develop their ideas independently.

We want our children to explore their world with curiosity and fascination, as inquisitive, active and independent learners who are exposed to opportunities for play and exploration that are rich in possibility.

Our children play with real resources; items that are authentic can inspire more imaginative play and encourage high levels of involvement from the children. The uniqueness and relative fragility of the resources demands more respect than plastic equivalents.

Our environments reflect all areas of learning that can be found in the EYFS, we make sure that many of our resources are continuously available to children so that they can use their environments to facilitate their own learning and interests.


One of our main principles at Ladybird is to help children to develop life skills. To be resilient, expressive, curious, demanding, compassionate, kind and to have fun. We want them to feel happy, confident and build the abilities to make relationships and form secure attachments.


The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards for promoting the learning, development and safety of children from birth to five years in Ofsted registered settings.

The EYFS specifies requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare. The learning and development requirements cover:

  • The areas of learning and development which must shape activities and experiences (educational programmes) for children in all early year’s settings.

  • The early learning goals that providers must help children work towards (the knowledge, skills and understanding children should have at the end of the academic year in which they turn five).

  • Assessment arrangements’ for measuring progress (and requirements for reporting to parents/carers)


The safeguarding and welfare requirements cover the steps that providers must take to keep children safe and promote their welfare.

The EYFS lays down the legal requirements that early year’s childcare providers must meet, including:

  • Learning and development requirements: specific areas of learning and development which should shape the activities and experiences offered.

  • Assessment requirements: how children’s progress is measured and feedback to parents or carers.

  • Safeguarding and welfare requirements: what we must do to keep children safe and promote their welfare.


There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.

Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving. These are the prime areas:

  • Communication and language

  • Physical development

  • Personal, social and emotional development

We also must support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:

  • Literacy

  • Mathematics

  • Understanding of the world

  • Expressive arts and design


The EYFS also sets out the ‘Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning’:

  • In planning and guiding what children learn, practitioners must reflect on the different rates at which children are developing and adjust their practice appropriately.

Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:

  • Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.

  • Active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements.

  • Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

Culture of Excellence

Ladybird is led by highly qualified and experienced Early Years Educator’s. Our teams benefit from the expertise of graduates with Early Years Degrees and training from various outstanding colleges in the area.

We believe that education and training is key to ensuring that all our Early Years Educator’s gain the knowledge and skills that will provide high quality care and education for each child. We also use our group of nurseries to support each other in best practice, sharing ideas and what works well for our children with each other in order to keep our culture of excellence consistent across all of our nurseries.

Our Area Manager visits each nursery regularly to ensure that the standards are maintained. As part of this she will monitor the quality of each nursery and ensure that our curriculum is followed and delivers regular training and CPD sessions to our team.

We work in close partnership with external training organisations to provide thorough and successful apprenticeship programmes. Many of our apprentices have progressed through the company over the years and now hold senior positions.

We support further higher-level training such as Early Years Initial Teacher training and PGCE with Northumbria, Newcastle and Sunderland Universities. We host students form several local collages, allowing us to support the development of the future early years’ workforce.

We are a highly reflective nursery group and are always striving to be leaders in best practice for our children. We are members of the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA). We work closely with other nurseries as well as the local authority.

Equality, Diversity, Inclusion

All our children are respected and their individuality and potential recognised, valued and nurtured. Our attitudes, activities and resources allow children to develop in an environment free of prejudice and discrimination.

Appropriate opportunities will be given to children to explore, acknowledge and value similarities and differences between themselves and others.

This is achieved by making children feel valued and good about themselves and ensuring all children have equality of access to learning. We recognise different learning styles and ensure each child receives the widest possible opportunity to develop their skills and abilities.

We select resources that positively reflect the widest range of communities and avoid stereotypes or derogatory images as well as celebrating a wide range of festivals.

As we value the rights of all children, it is important that the rights of all children and individuals connected with the nursery are respected and this includes the right to make decisions, to try things out, to make mistakes and to learn to get on with one another.

Central to this is creating a culture of mutual respect and helping children to understand that discriminatory behaviour and remarks are hurtful and do not have place in our nurseries.

Our planning is individual and inclusive to children with learning difficulties and disabilities and that any special arrangements to aid inclusion are know to staff.

We ensure that children with English as a second language have full access to the curriculum and are encouraged in maintaining their own language. Where possible, Makaton signing and visual timetables will be used to support children.

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