Principles of Early Years Education

These principles underpin our Early Years curriculum and guide our planning. Well-planned and well resourced play activities, which allow for progression in a child’s thinking and understanding can provide the context in which these principles become the reality for all our children.


Tina Bruce states:

The best way to prepare children for their adult life is to give them what they need as children. Children are whole people who have feelings, ideas and relationships with others, and who need to be physically, mentally, morally and spiritually healthy. Subjects such as mathematics and art cannot be separated; young children learn in an integrated way and not in neat, tidy compartments. Children learn best when they are given appropriate responsibility, allowed to make errors, decisions and choices, and respected as autonomous learners. Self-discipline is emphasized. Indeed, this is the only kind of discipline worth having. Children need their efforts to be valued. There are times when children are especially able to learn particular things. What children can do (rather than what they cannot do) is the starting point of a child’s education. Imagination, creativity and all kinds of symbolic behaviour (reading, writing, drawing, dancing, music, mathematical numbers, algebra, role play and talking) develop and emerge when conditions are favorable. Relationships with other people (both adults and children) are of central importance in a child’s life.


Quality education is about three things: the child, the context in which learning takes place, and the knowledge and understanding which the child develops and learns.


Progression in play reflects the observation and assessment of children’s knowledge, skills and attitudes in order to provide developmentally appropriate experiences. Children come to Toddler Town British Nursery already as skilled learners. Through our observations, assessment and professional understanding we gain valuable insights into how each one learns best. This information informs our planning to meet the needs of each individual child.


Progression in play comes about as a result of a real understanding of the interests, needs and experiences of the child. As practitioners, we need to understand that there must be a progression in the provision of activities to meet the developmental needs of children.