Care and Learning

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The first years of a child’s life are a wonderful time and every child deserves the best possible start.

At Berkhamsted Day Nursery, every child will enjoy all the attention they would normally receive from you at home, with the added benefits of trained staff and fantastic facilities specifically intended to stimulate each area of their development.

A range of extra activities such as Music, Gym, Languages and Dance are led by professionals in their field.

From 5 months to 4 years

We are open from 07:30 to 18:30 for 50 weeks of the year, with the option of an extended day or a school day session.

The children will enjoy all the attention that they would normally receive at home but with the added benefits of trained staff, a chef and fantastic facilities specifically intended to stimulate each area of development.

Our Day Nursery comprises of four rooms which are tailored to suit small groups of children within a specific age range. We appreciate that the difference between a five month old baby and a three year old child is substantial and we therefore provide age appropriate rooms that are specifically designed to ignite each child’s curiosity and facilitate development. In addition, the surrounding woodlands and secluded walled garden provide exciting outdoor learning opportunities whatever the weather.


Aged 5 months – 15 months

In Cottontails, we provide a calm but stimulating environment in which our youngest babies play, sleep and eat. There are a variety of resources for babies of different ages to explore and a cosy cot area for when it is time for a reviving sleep. The staff in this room work closely with you to find out your baby’s individual needs and routine; when at nursery we aim to follow this as closely as possible.


Aged 12 months – 2 years

In Nutkins, our babies are given the opportunity to become more independent. This room is split into two; there is a cosy carpeted area where the babies can choose to play in the home corner, curl up on the cushions with their favourite book, or select some toys from the boxes to play with. The adjoining room is the creative area where your children can experiment with a range of different messy play materials and try out a variety of creative activities. This room also provides the opportunity for some quiet and calming play as the children wake up from their afternoon sleep.


Aged 18 months to 2.5 years

In Tiggywinkles, children are encouraged to develop their independent thinking skills. We provide a range of resources and activities in this bright and stimulating room that promote problem solving and communication. The children’s independence is further developed through collaborative ‘tidy up time’ and by encouraging supportive relationships with their friends. Essential hygiene routines are practised such as learning to wash their hands.


Aged 2.5 years to 4 years

As children approach the end of their nursery experience they move into the Puddleducks room. While the atmosphere remains calm and relaxed, more emphasis is given to learning through play. Your child will be encouraged to engage with activities specifically designed to develop an interest in mark-making, number recognition and a language-rich environment that encourages communication, language and early literacy development. In addition, topics will focus on knowledge and understanding of the world, encouraging children to share their own experiences. While in this room your child is likely to develop independent toileting and the staff are on hand to support you.

Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a government document which sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five.

It details all the legal requirements, the principles that practitioners need to put into their practice and information on supporting children’s progression through the seven areas of learning and development.

The Four Principles

These are what the staff and setting integrate into their daily practice.

A Unique Child:

This is based on the principle that every child is a competent learner and can be resilient, capable and confident.

Positive Relationships:

This highlights the importance of children having loving and secure relationships with parents and carers, in order to become strong and independent.

Enabling Environments:

This recognises the key role a child’s environment plays in supporting and extending their development and learning.

Learning and Development:

This is based on the knowledge that children develop and learn in different ways and that all areas of learning are interconnected and equally important.

The Seven Areas of Learning

These areas combine together to make up the skills, knowledge and experiences that babies and children acquire as they grow, learn and develop. The prime areas are Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Communication and Language. These are fundamental because they work together to support development in the other areas. The developmental statements in these areas help practitioners to identify and plan for the children’s individual interests and abilities.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development:

This area looks at supporting children to develop a sense of themselves, social skills and respect for others and a positive disposition to learn. Children’s emotional well-being also needs to be supported in order to help them understand and manage their feelings and behaviour.

Physical Development:

This area looks at supporting children in using their senses and bodies to explore the world around them and make connections between new and existing knowledge. They should have the chance to be active and interact with things to improve their skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement. Children also need to develop an understanding of healthy living practices.

Communication and Language:

This area looks at supporting children’s developing competence in listening and understanding as well as speaking and communicating. Children should be given opportunities to build these skills and gain confidence to use them in a range of situations.


This area focuses on learning the skills needed for reading and writing.


This area looks at supporting children to develop their understanding of numbers, calculating, shapes, space and measures.

Understanding the World:

This area looks at supporting children in developing the knowledge, skills and understanding to help them make sense of their world. They should be able to explore creatures, people, plants and objects and undertake practical ‘experiments’.

Expressive Arts and Design:

This area looks at supporting children in developing their creativity by providing a range of opportunities, materials and media in which to express themselves and use their imaginations. The children should be encouraged to explore and share their thoughts, feelings and ideas.

Supporting Development

We understand that being cared for in a day nursery is very different from being cared for in a home environment.

A key person will support your child’s development through close observations and a good understanding of their needs and personality. On a daily basis the key person will be able to tune into your child’s emotions and interests to help support them as they play and learn new skills, providing opportunities for extension.

Over a longer period of time, the key person will make observations on their key child, documenting what they can do and how they are working things out. These observations help us identify ‘next steps’ for each child, which we then include in our short term planning. These ‘next steps’ also inform our development progress trackers, which are updated every six weeks and help us identify any areas of development that need additional input.

The nursery team works closely with you at all times, but particularly at key times in a child’s development such as potty training and room changes to ensure we all support the child together.

The Key Person

We understand that being cared for in a day nursery is very different from being cared for in a home environment. In order to make this transition as smooth as possible for the child and the parents, we have a key person system in place. Each child has their own key person who is there to help them feel secure and settled. Your child’s key person will take the time to get to know your child, and you as parents, in order to meet your child’s needs fully.

You can be assured that the key person is there to give extra cuddles when needed, to share in exciting news and to encourage your child’s interests. Their role is also to act as a first point of communication for you as parents and to help monitor and support your child’s learning and development.