Learning through play

The carefully curated curriculum at Happy Hearts, with its focus on the development of emotional intelligence and learning through play, incorporates the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage with elements of various pedagogical approaches, in particular, the Montessori Method of Education and the Reggio Emilia approach, to provide children with the opportunities and experiences that they need to build solid foundations for their later learning. All of these child-centred educational approaches treat each child as a unique individual and see teachers as facilitators of each child’s learning. That is, learning primarily through play and at their own pace. The goal at Happy Hearts is to create a learning-rich environment for your child to learn with awe and wonder while developing positive relationships that promote their social skills and ability to self-regulate.

Our nursery has a high child-staff ratio, which means that each child is given as much individual attention as they need to thrive, feel happy and reach their full potential. We practice purposeful planning and have consistent systems of measures, through which we report every child’s progress.

The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum

The Early Years Foundation Stage is made up of seven areas of learning that shape our educational programmes:

Communication and Language

Communication underpins all the seven areas of learning where speaking and listening are both fundamental skills for a child to master.  The acquisition of these skills will determine the ability of a child to learn as well as give them the confidence to establish positive relationships with adults and peers.  At Happy Hearts, we provide continuing opportunities for children to express themselves and develop their confidence in all aspects of communication. We work closely with families of children who speak English as an additional language and provide tailored support to encourage the development of their understanding and speaking skills at every stage.

Personal, Social, and Emotional Development

We encourage the children to work with others and take part in new activities in a way that makes them feel assured and empowered. Children learn best by doing; by fostering self-motivated learning, we facilitate their development as confident, successful individuals capable of interacting with the resources within our environment freely and independently. We respect that every child is an individual and celebrate their unique personalities. By acknowledging their individualities, we understand that not all their needs will be the same. Our child-to-teacher ratio and our carefully appointed key teacher relationships mean that we have the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with your child’s needs on a deeper level and thus cater a bespoke educational programme, supporting his/her emotional wellbeing, learning, and development.

Physical Development

We guide children to develop an understanding of the importance of physical activity and making healthy food and lifestyle choices for themselves. We develop fine and gross motor skills through fun activities and implement lots of opportunities for children to develop and improve physical coordination. We have daily indoor and outdoor activities, and the children can enjoy a variety of sports, fitness, and movement classes each week. These classes include Tennis, Yoga, Music & Movement, and Forest School.


At Happy Hearts, we seek to foster a life-long interest in reading and listening to stories by exposing children to a wide range of books. Language-rich experiences are provided through storytelling and the daily incorporation of songs and nursery rhymes. We follow the Jolly Phonics and Letters and Sounds programmes and incorporate the sounds into games, story-telling, and role-playing activities. Included in the literacy learning area are the many opportunities for mark-making to support fine motor skills and prepare the children for writing so that one day each child can go on to write their own story.


As well as helping children to understand mathematical concepts like number recognition, counting and calculating, shapes and measurements, we encourage each child to develop their mathematical skills by giving them opportunities to engage with our numerous mathematics activities in both child-led and teacher-led scenarios. Children apply number language and positional vocabulary in play and make sense of the world around them, whilst also learning about the concept of time, space, and the value of money.

Understanding of the World

At Happy Hearts nursery, we start with family books to help the children understand that differences are to be embraced and respected, and through a focus on different cultural festivals throughout the year the children learn to celebrate different cultures within the nursery while learning about the wider global community. We help each child to develop their knowledge of their local community through regular outings, supporting charities, and observing different aspects of the neighbourhood. We also nurture a growing sense of the wider world and the role of technology in daily life. Role-play opportunities support this. British values, such as, democracy, the role of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs are embedded within our curriculum, and our topic-based learning help children to learn and apply their knowledge in their play. We also place great importance on the natural world and our environment, giving children the chance to try their hand at gardening, learning about wildlife, and observing natural habitats through our weekly Forest School.

Expressive Arts and Design

Creativity is crucial to a well-rounded sense of self, and we encourage children to explore their feelings and thoughts through various expressive mediums, such as art, music, movement, design technology, and imaginative role play. We provide materials, tools, and equipment for the children to use in their creative pursuits, and we facilitate peripatetic support for specialist music, movement, and artistic sessions. The various tools we provide to children within the art corner also help develop children’s fine motor skills and confidence, through ongoing opportunities of working with craft supplies such as scissors, paintbrushes, and glue.

Child-centred Educational Philosophies and Pedagogies

At Happy Hearts Nursery and Pre-School, we set ourselves apart from other nurseries by going beyond the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage and incorporating two pioneering child-centred educational approaches into our overarching beliefs and practices; the Montessori Method of education and the Reggio Emilia approach. All of these approaches follow the principle that the purpose of school is to teach children how to succeed in life and not simply how to succeed in the classroom.