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Ducklings Pre-School Provision (3-4 year olds)

Welcome to our Ducklings Page.



Early Years Mission Statement

In the Early Years Foundation Stage at Cerne Abbas CE VC First School we believe in providing a safe and stimulating environment where children flourish. We place children at the heart of all we do; ensuring we listen to both the children and those who care for them and use this information to personalise each child’s learning experience.


Learning should be fun! We strongly believe in first hand experiences, valuing the importance of the outdoor environment to develop children’s thinking and problem solving skills.


We believe that every child is unique and should be treated so allowing them the opportunity to develop and learn in a safe and nurturing environment where play and learning exist simultaneously.  


We understand the importance of practical learning experiences and strive to equip children with a love of learning and a natural curiosity.


We are committed to giving our children the best possible start to their school life, teaching them skills which ensure their well-being now and success in the future.



Ducklings and the EYFS Unit

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum is the phase of education from birth to five, with the Reception year representing the final year of the EYFS. Our pre-school provision for our ‘Ducklings’ will give children the experiences and skills they need to successfully move into a Reception class and beyond.

There is a strong emphasis on learning through play, being both child-initiated and supported by adults. We believe that children learn best from practical experiences and ensure the curriculum is delivered in this way as much as possible as well as being linked to the needs and interests of the children.


Unique Child

At Cerne Abbas CE VC First School we understand that every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. Our EYFS teacher and key workers (NVQ L3) will ensure each individual child’s needs are catered for within an inclusive and nurturing atmosphere. We encourage children of all ages to become independent and inquisitive learners, giving them the confidence to have a go, explore and do things for themselves.


Positive Relationships

Children learn to be strong and independent though positive relationships with the significant adults in their lives. When your child starts with us you will meet our class teacher and your child’s key person. There will also be opportunities for you to visit our setting with your child and spend time with your child’s key person. The key person will be their main caregiver and will support and facilitate their learning as a Duckling. Having a small team of adults is a huge strength of our setting as every child will quickly get to know their key person and class teacher, enabling them to feel comfortable in their surroundings and ready to learn.


Enabling Environments

Cerne Abbas CE VC First School aims to provide a homely atmosphere and provide the bridge between home and school life. The intimacy of the setting allows families to settle in quickly. We have a range of stimulating resources indoors and outside which are organised appropriately for different age groups. Throughout the day we follow a detailed routine to provide a wealth of exciting, educational activities to facilitate children’s learning through play.































Learning and Development

In our EYFS unit, our pre-school aged Ducklings and Reception children will acquire and develop their skills alongside each other. Our day is timetabled to give children opportunity to access a range of different activities specifically designed to challenge and enhance their learning, enabling them to fulfil their full potential. This learning may take place independently, in a small group or a large group and is underpinned by The Early Years Framework (Updated 2021). Within the Framework, seven areas of learning and development are outlined. All areas of learning and development are important and interconnected. The prime areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. The prime areas are fundamental and will support and scaffold development in all other areas.




Prime areas:

  • Communication and language;

  • Physical development;

  • Personal, social and emotional development.


The specific areas include essential skills and knowledge to ensure children have the best possible start to their learning journey. 


Specific areas:

  • Literacy;

  • Mathematics;

  • Understanding the World;

  • Expressive arts and design.


The thematic approach to teaching and learning means that clear links are made between the different areas of learning. This means the children can use skills and experiences from one area to help them to make progress in other areas.



Prime Areas of Learning


Personal, Social and Emotional Development

The focus in this area is upon developing children’s ability to establish constructive relationships with other children and adults. Children have opportunities to make choices, to be independent and to work with others. Children develop self-awareness, self-confidence and emotional well-being. They learn to appreciate the similarities and differences between themselves and other people. They respect differences in gender, ethnicity, religion, culture, feelings and needs. Overall, it encourages children to have respect for others, social competence and a positive “I can do it!” attitude towards learning.


Communication and Language

Children develop communication skills through speaking and listening in a variety of situations and for different audiences and purposes. They share and enjoy rhymes, music, songs, poetry, stories and role-play. Children learn to articulate their ideas and opinions, as well as listening to other people. They are expected to respond to things they hear and see through appropriate actions or asking questions to clarify their understanding.


Physical Development

Children learn to develop and improve skills of co-ordination, control, manipulation and movement. They use model-making equipment (such as Lego), threading, painting, drawing and writing to develop fine motor skills. Gross motor skills are developed through daily movement sessions. Children learn to control different parts of their bodies to move in a variety of ways. They run, jump, climb and learn in order to understand the benefits of being healthy and active. 



Specific Areas of Leaning



Children will be immersed in spoken language through enticing story, singing, rhyming and poetry times aiming to inspire children’s love of reading. They will be encouraged to develop their vocabulary through role-play activities, story times and discussions. Children will learn to discriminate and identify various environmental and spoken sounds. They will begin to learn the letter shapes and say the sounds of the letters with the help of mnemonics following the Nursery Read Write Inc phonics scheme. They will also begin to blend the sounds into words with ‘Fred’ the frog who only talks in sounds! This will give them a flying start before continuing their RWI phonics learning in Reception.  Children will be encouraged to mark make with a variety of different resources and practise writing their name with the support of a name card. Emergent mark making is celebrated within an environment that fosters ‘have a go’ writers!



Children develop key skills through stories, songs, games, imaginative play and real life contexts. Children develop their ability to match objects, to recognise and make patterns, to develop spatial reasoning skills, to recognise and use 2D and 3D shapes and to use vocabulary to describe size, weight and measures. They also learn to count accurately and to recognise numerals. Children work both independently and together to solve problems. When working together they are encouraged to share their ideas, to listen to the ideas of others, to try the ideas out and reflect on whether it worked or what they could do next.


Understanding the World

Children develop more awareness about their surroundings as they identify similarities and differences between people, places and objects. Children are encouraged to observe, explore, experiment with, to touch, smell, listen to, manipulate and ask questions. They find out about different cultures and beliefs, families, special places, events from the past and living things. The children also develop their understanding of computer skills and programmable toys. They have opportunities to use Information Communication Technology (ICT) to find out about their world.


Expressive Arts and Design

Children learn about Art, Music, Dance, imaginative play and role play. The children have access to a broad range of resources including musical instruments, art media and dressing–up clothes. They are encouraged to express their powers of imagination and develop their ability to communicate and express their ideas and feelings thorough multi-sensory experiences.




For simple fun ideas to do with your child at home follow the link below.

Useful Documents
Useful Links

A positive, purposeful and enthusiastic atmosphere

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