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Our Approach

Watoto’s Pre-school’s curriculum is fully in-line with the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework (2020), influenced by:

In The Moment Planning

''Children are born with a natural desire to explore and learn,                and practitioners can support them in this. We do this by                      creating an enabling environment (both physical and                    emotional) and through the relationships and interactions

that the children experience. We do not plan, rather we                    ‘remain in the moment’ with the children as they explore and                learn. We observe carefully, and enhance children’s learning                whenever we spot a “teachable moment’.”   

                                                                                  Anna Ephgrave 2015                                     

The Curiosity Approach

''Aims to create 'thinkers & doers' by putting the child at the centre of their own development and education. Modern toys and technology are removed from the learning environment and replaced with everyday items to encourage children's natural curiosity and eagerness to explore and create''.   

                                                                Lyndsey Hellyn & Stephanie Bennett 2017


We aim to open children’s eyes to awe and wonder, providing a variety of first-hand experiences through play, to stimulate their learning and interests, placing a strong focus on the independent application of the essential skills, honesty, teamwork, kindness, co-operation, tolerance, respect, forgiveness, responsibility, perseverance, resilience and not forgetting helping children discovery the fun in learning.

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Our Curriculum

  • The Environment
    Children access different areas both indoors and outdoors, as they choose our practitioners support, extend and develop children’s learning with warmth, respect and empathy. ​ All our resources are developmentally appropriate and can be used in a range of ways. ​ The environment is safe and well organised into discrete areas of learning where continuous provision is well planned for children to select themselves to support independent learning and reflect the local community and world around us.
  • Personalised Learning
    The key person develops and maintains thorough knowledge of the children and their families. ​ Its so important we gain an understanding of their interests, experiences, skills, diversity and additional needs of all of our children. This understanding is key to informing how we plan each child’s personalised learning journey to support their all-round development and happiness while attending preschool.
  • Relations and Interactions
    Our Practitioners: are role models in their relationships with other practitioners, parent carers and children. are sensitive when they involve themselves in children’s play activity supporting their all-round development throughout our Early Years curriculum. operate a Key Person system, but our practitioners act as an anchor for children prioritising time for interactions with children as role-models, play partners, listeners and planners. understand that every child develops individually and therefore different levels of communication and interaction are necessary. always show a warm and loving attitude towards children in preschool and ensure their non-verbal communication (body language) is open and caring. in their interactions, practitioners aim not to think for children, but instead, using sensitive questions and comments, and modelling thinking out loud, help children to think for themselves. help children to develop resilience by encouraging them to persevere and by providing an environment in which children feel secure in facing challenge. when children push boundaries our practitioners respond in a calm and consistent way. feedback to children is action specific, concise, and positive.
  • Learning through play
    Children explore at their own pace, and are respected as autonomous, self-motivated individuals and given consistent boundaries. ​ Most of the play within preschool is child-led, with our practitioners following children’s interests, helping them to take initiatives and allowing them to make their own decisions to become active learners. ​ Our practitioners are always actively engaged with children and their learning, either by careful observation of children; listening and watching play, or by sensitively joining in children’s play to develop and extend the children’s learning. ​ Our practitioners work to support children’s reasoning while challenging them to re-examine and extend their understanding of the world. They will do this by using open ended questions, modelling and developing language for communication and thinking, or by modelling play itself. ​ Our practitioners will use children’s interests to move children on, by building on and extending children’s skills and knowledge.
  • Partnerships
    To capitalise on children’s preschool and home experience, we work closely with parent carers to share information which we can then build upon. ​ An ongoing dialogue between Practitioners and parent carers begins with home visits before the child starts preschool. This continues with regular formal and informal information sharing. ​ We provide support, information and workshops for parent carers that enrich and underpin the learning in our preschool. ​ We have strong partnerships with external professionals. These support children’s learning and development in preschool and at home.

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Special Educational Needs & Disability

At Watoto Pre-School, we recognise that every child is an individual who has individual needs, and that these needs will affect their learning. 


We are committed to the equal inclusion of all pupils, and if children find learning more challenging than others we offer extra support to enable them to achieve their full potential. We assess all children to identify their strengths and needs, and how we can best support them. 


Every Early Years Practitioner has responsibility for all the children in their room who have special educational needs. They work closely with the two Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCO), to plan the best provision for the children. This is implemented through a graduated approach, in line with the Sheffield Inclusion Strategy via the Local Offer.  

Our manager recently received a national award, ‘Early Years SENCO award', for her knowledge and experience in supporting her team in delivering exceptional care for children in our care with SEND.  


The key to our success is working as a team with parents/carers and specialist professionals, to ensure that our care, support, and preschool is of the highest standard.  

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