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Approach to Learning

The Early Years Foundation Stage ethosis firmly based on the belief that open-ended, creative play is the best way in which children learn. Play is complex and needs time, space and skilled support in order to evolve and grow. Our sessions are built around such thinking. We recognise that children have a huge stake in their own development and we do our utmost to provide an enabling environment for children to initiate and carry out investigations with the support of quality staff interaction. By offering an holistic and outdoor-based approach, children intrinsically learn numeracy and literacy, along with all the other areas of learning, without rote and so gain a much firmer understanding within a wide range of contexts.

Open-ended /Free-flow Play

Open ended / free flow play offers hands on imaginative and creative opportunities for learning. Play is intrinsic to children’s well being and must be acknowledged and respected.


Rainow Pre-School offers the space, time and support for children to explore in an imaginative, spontaneous and free flow approach where children can determine what to do, how to do it and what to use whilst having clear and consistent expectations with regard to behaviour, boundaries and safety. By not having a fixed outcome the children have no fear of doing wrong as there is no ‘correct’ outcome.

Supporting and Extending Play 

It is not enough to just provide a stimulating environment and let the children get on with it. Staff at Rainow Pre-School actively teach the children through modelling appropriate language and behaviour, sharing and supporting intelligent conversations, and developing and extending play through motivation and encouragement. 


Our enthusiastic and attentive staff team sensitively support children’s explorations by observing and listening to what is important to them. We value all children’s reactions and questions to support their ideas and help them make links to previous experiences. When the time is right, we challenge children to help them develop problem-solving skills and resilience in their learning.

Continuous and Enhanced Provision

Children do not need complex resources. They use whatever is to hand and their own imaginations. A plastic orange in a play kitchen can only be a plastic orange, but give a child open ended resources and it can become anything that the child wishes. Materials such as water, soil, sand, sticks, clay, junk and fabrics have endless creative possibilities.


Rainow Pre-School offers high quality open ended resources that support opportunities for each child to investigate and create in their own way at their own pace. A core collection of resources is offered for continuous daily provision with enhanced resources being added to extend children’s interests.

And finally...

Staff at Rainow Pre School honour the way that children learn and we fully support the passage Rachel Carson wrote in her book ‘The Sense of Wonder’. Amazingly, this book was written in 1956 but we feel that in this age of commercialism it is more applicable than ever:


"A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for many of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost be-fore we reach adulthood."


"If I had influence over the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last a lifetime."

"Staff are extremely positive role models who expertly support children to develop confidence

and a hugely positive sense of self-esteem...parents are delighted with the service

and comment on the supportive and very caring team."

Ofsted Report, 2020

Website created by Rainow Pre-School staff, committee, parents and carers with 

Photo Credit

Robert Muldoon

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