The Staff Role in Supporting and Extending Children’s Learning

Our staff team are adept at planning within this framework for every individual child. We place importance upon the ‘characteristics of effective learning’ and ensure that we provide experiences and activities that promote active learning, play and exploration and the opportunity to really get involved with problems and challenges, to create and think critically.

A strength of being a small pre-school is that we can listen to all of our children all of the time. We believe that to recognise the unique child we need to focus on a child-led approach and thus we start with a child’s interests: we listen, consult with the children and plan together. Interests such as volcanoes, underwater exploration, Octanauts and funny shows have all been planned from the children’s interests. We are responsive to the needs of our children and we are fluid in how we plan for them. We use the concept of mindmaps, team meetings and thinking and planning books as a way of consulting and planning with our children and we return to activities and themes over consecutive days, carrying forward our shared thinking sometimes through a week sometimes longer. Our key person system works well

 to ensure that every child has their individual needs met.


We recognise that it is not enough to just provide a stimulating environment and let the children get on with it. Staff at Wray Pre-School are aware of how and when to join in, support and extend children’s play. Our enthusiastic staff do this in a number of ways:


  • Using a variety of methods to observe and listen to all children to gain an understanding of what interests them and how they might be thinking

  • Valuing all children’s reactions to experiences and their questions

  • Helping children to make links to previous experiences

  • Using various levels of questioning to help children take their thinking a step further

  • Plan additional enhanced provision to develop further possibilities and opportunities

  • Helping children make links between their experiences and to their lives outside the setting

Observational painting of a pumpkin.

Practitioners are involved in asking questions, encouraging talk, modelling skills and sharing in experiences.