Learning & Development

River Mole curriculum

The River Mole curriculum is a progressive curriculum that is a reflection of children of today. It builds upon the areas of learning and development from the Early Years Foundation stage adding additional knowledge and learning opportunities.

We have created 4 key focus areas that we believe complement the statutory framework areas of learning.

Key Focus Areas

Harry the Healthy Mole

Physical development, personal, social and emotional development.

Emma the Expressive Mole

Communication and language, Literacy, expressive arts and design.

Ralph the Responsible Mole

Understanding the world.

Imogen the Inventive Mole


Play based on real life experiences and challenges.

Play based on experiences is a process of learning where little ones learn by doing. Children learn best when they engage actively with their learning environment, and forming new experiences as they play. Experiential learning for early years bases itself on the idea that little ones learn best when they actively engage with their environment and reflect on their experiences. This kind of learning goes beyond traditional classroom instruction, encouraging students to apply theoretical knowledge to real-life situations.

Adult guided play

We have daily small group ‘focus time’ where early years practitioners will guide the play with age appropriate activities such as music, dance and meditation, story time, singing, topical discussions and much more. Children will regularly take part in cooking and baking activities, yoga and Play-Doh disco. 

School Readiness

School readiness (Chief Mole)

Our Ready, Steady, Go! sessions over the course of the academic year, help our children prepare for big school and become independent and enthusiastic learners. We cover phonics ranging from basic listening skills, rhyming, alliteration and oral segmenting and blending. Part of our school readiness programme includes a library book scheme, where the children can take books home to enjoy and learn how to look after and care for them.

Child initiated teaching

Child initiated teaching

In Early years we often hear about children being given choice, and a Montessori approach believes that children would learn far more if children were given the opportunity to explore and be independent learners. She was an advocate for the hands-on-approach to learning, rather than a teacher imparting lots of information on the child.  Our educators are on hand to help scaffold children’s learning sensitively, allowing them time and space to make choices and decisions, and to try things for themselves.

Self-regulatory Practice and sensory play

At River Mole, we teach the children how to understand and express their feelings, how to make positive choices and how to manage conflict or when they are feeling overwhelmed. We implement this daily through mindfulness, our values and role modelling how to use and adapt emotional vocabulary. We explore choices at the various, different stages and having a voice. The Emotional literacy element impacts the children’s sense of belonging, empathy, self-esteem, self-regulatory skills, resilience, and their overall happiness.

We use:

  • The colour Monster to support self-regulation. (book available)
  • Visual supports including ‘Now and Next’
  • PECS
  • Communication books
  • Colourful semantics
  • Makaton
Self-regulatory practice and sensory play
Parents as Partners

Parents as partners

Parents are their child’s first and most powerful educators. That is why it is important to work together, so we can plan effectively, understand and meet their child’s needs. We use a digital software called Parenta to record children’s learning and development and is shared with parents through the parent portal. This supports their development with a holistic approach, building strong partnerships with our parents.

Best for every child-Inclusion and equality

All children, parents, carers and grandparents become part of our River Mole family. Inclusion means we need to be sensitive to the possibility of barriers (real or perceived) that our children and families may face in life and we strive to ensure that these barriers are broken down.

As a nursery we promote equality of opportunity and inclusion, which means that all of our children at River Mole will have equal opportunities to achieve and flourish.

With the support of our Area senco our educators are guided in applying interventions, adjustments and differentiation to ensure children with additional needs reach their full potential. Where necessary we will ensure that support from additional external agencies and from the local authority is secured.

Best for every child-Inclusion and equality