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Omagh Integrated Primary School and Nursery, Omagh

Curricular Guidance for Pre-School

The Nursery and Pre-School curriculum is provided holistically through play and many other experiences such as cookery, gardening, music, outings, visits from outside agencies and an extensive range of outdoor play activities.

Children's development is observed, monitored and evaluated through incidental annotations which are then also used to forward plan programs of educational experiences.

Miss Curry and her assistant in Nursery along other hrs Pre-School staff plan for the children's development through long, medium and short-term plans for both indoor and outdoor play experiences.  Miss Curry endeavours to meet the needs of all the children and differentiates activities to adapt them to everyone's abilities.  These planners are available in the Nursery foyer.

The Nursery Pre-School Curriculum

Nursery/Pre-School education is about focussing on the development of the individual child and during your child’s time in Nursery he/she will experience a great variety of activities based opportunities.

 The Nursery/Pre-School curriculum your child will be following has been laid down by CCEA (a body with responsibility for the curriculum, examinations and assessment in schools). Its document, “Curricular Guidance for Pre-School Education”, identifies six areas of learning that we are obliged to follow:

The six areas of learning are:

  • Physical Development & Movement
  • Personal, Social & Emotional Development
  • Language Development
  • The Arts
  • Early Mathematical Experiences
  • The World Around Us

Whilst our curriculum is set out under these six discrete AoL headings, children will experience it in a holistic way through play and other relevant experiences. The following page details some of the learning that we will be planning for under these six headings.

Learning through Play at Nursery/Pre-School

Play is natural to the children and is the way in which they learn.  Through play the children learn new skills, develop new interests, encounter new experiences and build on previous knowledge.  In Nursery/Pre-School we aim to provide a secure, caring, happy and structured environment where the children  learn through meaningful play using materials and equipment carefully selected by the staff.

Each of the activities offered to the children provide countless learning experiences for the children, e.g. by seeing their names on paintings and looking at books in the book corner helps to familiarise the children with the printed word and encourage an interest in books.

 The children are preparing themselves for writing by expressing their ideas through drawing and painting, while developing their ability to hold pencils and pens. 

There is preparation for mathematics by sorting, matching, selecting and ordering as they play with materials such as sand, water, construction and gluing materials. 

Jigsaws, games, painting, drawing, computer programmes etc. encourage recognition of colour, shape and pattern.

Pupils acquire knowledge of the World through participating in activities such as Circle time, singing, investigation area, seasonal interest tables and walks in the local environment.

Skills such as listening, talking, questioning, recalling information and describing are encouraged to develop through individual, group and whole class activities.

In the Nursery/Pre-School the children learn to make new friends and learn to respect one another.  They learn to take turns, share and become more independent.  They also learn to follow rules and carry out instructions. 

The fact that there are so many activities in the Nursery/Pre-School may mean that your child does not always take home evidence of his/her play.

However what they do take home is always their own work.  Please remember that what may look like a scribble to you could be a work of art to your child, so always award any effort with some praise and take time to discuss it with your child.


What will your child be learning

The six areas of the Nursery/Pre-School curriculum contain many examples of learning that we will be striving to promote throughout your child’s year with us. The following grid contains only a few examples of learning chosen from each area.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Children will be learning to:

  • become independent in personal hygiene and Nursery routines
  • cope with Nursery rules and routines
  • enjoy the company of other children
  • play co-operatively and share resources
  • express his / her own feelings and emotions
  • persevere with a task


Language Development

Children will be learning to: 

  • understand and follow simple instructions
  • enjoy listening to stories
  • take part in conversations with adults and peers
  • enjoy browsing in the book corner
  • know that the printed word has meaning
  • re-tell a story from pictures 
  • recognise their own first name

Physical Development and Movement

Children will be learning to:

  • enjoy physical play
  • develop an awareness of space
  • move confidently with increasing control and co-ordination
  • develop gross motor skills, e.g. kicking & jumping 
  • develop fine motor skills & use small tools effectively


The Arts

Children will be learning to:

  • express their own ideas through pictures & models
  • enjoy using a wide variety of media, e.g. pencils, paint, scrap materials, sponges, clay, dough
  • play imaginatively on their own or in a group
  • enjoy making music by singing, clapping and playing percussion instruments  
  • enjoy listening to music


Early Mathematical Experiences

Children will be learning to: 

  • talk about daily routines / events in sequence
  • use and understand language associated with size and quantity
  • talk about everyday shapes
  • sort and group by size / pattern / shape / colour
  • copy, continue and create a repeating pattern 
  • count objects accurately in the course of play


The World Around Us

Children will be learning to:

  • use their senses to investigate and describe everyday objects and events
  • show care for living things and the environment
  • handle natural materials with curiosity, such as shells, leaves and stones 
  • talk about the weather and the seasons at appropriate times of the year



The Nursery\Pre-School curriculum is planned around monthly themes with each theme broken down into manageable weekly units.  Each theme is delivered through a play based approach with a variety of exciting play areas and activities. We plan on a weekly basis to meet the needs of all the children. Activities are differentiated to meet the varying levels of development. 

All learning which takes place in Nursery/Pre-School is delivered through play based learning.

Children learn best when experiences and activities are relevant and meaningful – we choose themes which we believe the children are connected to and will express an interest in , e.g. seasonal events and other meaningful experiences in their lives.