Key Information

Information for families with children at Grace Owen Nursery School

Information for families

The Nursery at the heart of the community. Grace Owen Nursery School has been an integral part of Park Hill since 1963. Families have been bringing their children here for over three generations.
In January 2016 we moved into our new, exciting and vibrant building. We hope you and your children will feel welcomed, included and happy here. We have three rooms for different age groups. Come and join us to meet new friends, play and learn together.

Our Curriculum

As an early years setting we use Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (2021) to guide our curriculum. We are also using Birth to Five Matters and elements of Development Matters. These document form the basis for education from birth to five. Its sets out ratios and welfare requirements. It states that education should be put into practice four principles:

1. A Unique child
2. Positive Relationships
3. Enabling environments
4. Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates

Within the principle learning and development there are areas of learning which form the basis of curriculum planning and indicate the progress which children can be expected to make. These areas of learning finish at the end of reception class in school, when children are assessed against ‘Early Learning Goals’.
The seven areas of learning are:

Personal, Social and Emotional development
Communication & Language
Physical Development
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design

Also key to this curriculum are the Characteristics of Effective Learning, which ensure we teach and notice the development of life-long learning skills such as being curious, having a go at new activities, taking risks and taking on challenges, bouncing back from difficulties, persevering, displaying resilience and being creative.

We provide a balance of planned and free play activities for our children, supported by experienced and well qualified staff. They are encouraged to become independent, confident, involved and happy learners. We aim to provide a curriculum to develop the whole child. Young children learn by first hand experiences i.e. doing, touching and seeing for themselves through play. Their intellectual, social, emotional, creative and physical development will be catered for by various play activities which we offer at nursery and in addition learning about phonics, maths, science and physical play are also taught in in short, active daily focussed learning groups.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
At Grace Owen we believe that inclusive education means providing all pupils with appropriate education and support alongside their peers. The Curriculum is all the planned activities that the school organises in order to promote learning, personal growth and development. We prioritise inclusivity and work according to the needs and stage of development of each child, planning and sharing progress through working closely with families.

For further information please view our SEN/D information section.

Areas of Learning and Development

Whilst all seven areas of learning are important and interconnected three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas are the prime areas.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

This area of learning helps children to work, play and co-operate with others, learning how to participate in a group beyond the family. Successful personal, social, and emotional development is crucial for very young children in all aspects of their lives. It is also necessary for their success in all other areas of learning.
In this area we endeavour to ensure children are
• Interested, excited and motivated to learn.
• Confident to try new activities, initiate ideas and speak in a familiar group.
• Able to maintain attention, concentrate and sit quietly when appropriate.
• Aware of their own needs, views and feelings, and also sensitive to the needs, views and feelings of others.
• Respectful of their own and others’ culture and beliefs.
• Responsive to significant experiences showing a range of feelings when appropriate.
• Able to form good relationships with adults and peers.
• Able to work as part of a group, taking turns and sharing fairly, understanding that there needs to be agreed values and codes of behaviour for groups of people to work together.
• Able to understand what is right, what is wrong and why.
• Able to dress and undress independently and manage their own personal hygiene.
• Able to select and use activities and resources independently.
• Able to consider the consequences of their words and actions.
• Able to understand that people have different needs, views, cultures and beliefs, which need to be treated with respect.
• Able to understand that they can expect others to treat their needs, views, cultures and beliefs with respect.

Communication and Language

This area of learning focuses on the development of listening and attention skills, understanding and speaking.
In this area children learn to
• Enjoy listening to and using spoken and written language.
• Explore and experiment with sounds, words and texts.
• Listen and respond to stories, songs, music, rhymes and poems.
• Make up their own stories, songs, music, rhymes and poems.
• Use language to imagine and re-create roles and experiences.
• Use talk to organise, sequence and clarify their thinking, ideas, feelings and events.
• Sustain attentive listening and respond to what they have heard by relevant comments, questions or actions.
• Interact with others, negotiate plans and activities and take turns in conversation.
• Extend their vocabulary and explore the meaning and sound of new words.
• Retell narratives in the correct sequence, using the language patterns of stories.
• Speak clearly and audibly and with confidence and control, and show awareness of the listener, such as using greetings and ‘please’ and ‘thankyou’.

Physical Development

This area covers moving and handling, health and self-care.
Children learn to
• Be comfortable and confident in their own bodies.
• Express themselves through fluid and assured movement
• Show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements.
• Move confidently in a range of ways, negotiating space safely.
• Handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.
• Understand the importance of good health, physical exercise and a healthy diet.
• Manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.

In addition to the Prime Areas we also support children in four specific areas of learning.


This is the area in which children learn about reading and writing
Over time they learn to
• Love stories and books.
• Understand how stories work with characters, plot, structure etc.
• Begin to recognise and write sounds, letters and words.
• Read words /captions and begin to read and understand simple sentences.
• Begin to use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately.
• Begin to read some irregular common words
• Demonstrate some understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
• Begin to use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds.
• Begin to write some irregular common words.


This covers counting and numbers as well as shape, space and measures.
Children learn to
• Play with numbers and find ways to count different objects.
• Learn about the properties of 2 and 3D shapes, space and measures.
• Begin to record their mathematical thinking in different ways.
• Count reliably with numbers from 1-10 and then 20.
• Place numbers in order and begin to say which number is one more or one less than a given number.
• Count on or back to find the answer.
• Use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities.
• Recognise, create and describe patterns.
• Use mathematical language to describe everyday objects and shapes.
• Solve problems, such as sharing.

Understanding of the World

This area covers finding out about people and communities, the world around us and technology.
Children learn to
• Investigate objects and materials by using all of their senses.
• Find out about and identify some features of living things, objects and events they observe.
• Look closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change.
• Ask questions about why things happen and how things work.
• Build and construct with a wide range of objects, selecting appropriate resources and adapting their work where necessary.
• Select the tools and techniques they need to shape, assemble and join the materials they are using.
• Find out about past and present events in their own lives and in those of their families and other people they know.
• Observe, find out about and identify features in the place they live and the natural world.
• Begin to know about their own cultures and beliefs and those of other people.
• Find out about their environment and talk about those features they like and dislike.

Expressive Arts and Design

This area includes art, music, dance, role play and imaginative play.
Children are able to
• Explore colour, texture, shape, form and space in two and three dimensions.
• Recognise and explore how sounds can be changed.
• Sing simple songs from memory and play with them to create new versions.
• Recognise repeated sounds and sound patterns.
• Match movement to music.
• Respond in a variety of ways to what they see, hear, smell, touch and feel.
• Use their imagination in art and design, music, dance, stories and imaginative play and role play.
• Express and communicate their ideas, thoughts and feelings by using a widening range of materials, suitable tools, imaginative and role play, movement, design and making, and a variety of songs and musical instruments.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning

These are the ways in which children engage with other people and their environment through playing and exploring, active learning, and creating and thinking critically. They underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner.

Playing and exploring-engagement

Finding out and exploring
Playing with what they know
Being willing to ‘have a go’

Active learning -motivation

Being involved and concentrating
Keep trying
Enjoying and achieving what they set out to do

Creating and thinking critically -thinking

Having their own ideas
Making links
Choosing ways to do things

To find out more about the curriculum Grace Owen Nursery School is following, please refer to the DfE publication ‘Early Years Outcomes’ or come and talk to us about what your child is learning at the moment.

Safeguarding at Grace Owen Nursery School

Safeguarding is everyone’s business!

Safeguarding is our duty of care to minimise the risk of harm to children regardless of their age, gender, religion or ethnicity.

See our safeguarding policies here.

If you are worried about a vulnerable child or adult please contact Sheffield Safeguarding

If you are worried that a child is being exploited you can visit the Child Exploitation website by following the link below to CEOP:

All our staff and Governors know and follow the guidance in the latest document below:
Government website

You can also look at our current Safeguarding Policy

Our Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is Nancy Farrow and our deputy DSL is Leonie Matthews.

Our Governor responsible for Safeguarding is Alison Cartwright.

First Aid

All room staff are trained in paediatric first aid.

The Prevent Duty

0114 273 4450 (Office hours are: 8.45am to 5.15pm
Monday – Thursday and 8.45am to 4.45pm Friday) or email

The Prevent duty is the duty in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 on
specified authorities, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the
need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. In order to protect children
in your care, you must be alert to any reason for concern in the child’s life at home or
elsewhere. Prevent works to stop individuals from getting involved or supporting
terrorism or extremist activity. Radicalisation is a psychological process where
vulnerable and/or susceptible individuals are groomed to engage into criminal,
terrorist activity.

The Prevent Programme is designed to safeguard people in a
similar way to safeguarding processes to protect people from gang activity, drug
abuse, and physical and sexual abuse. Staff at nursery have received Prevent
training and updates are included in our Safeguarding training at least annually.
Prevent Duty Guidance for England & Wales


The links below will give you lots of up-to-date information about keeping your children safe on-line.

E-Safety BCC May 2018 E-safety Leaflet for Parents
Think U Know Internet Matters
Net-aware guide to the social networks your children use.
Youtube safety factsheet
Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP)

If you would like to know anything more about safeguarding please see our safeguarding policy or come and speak to a member of our staff.

Special educational needs and inclusion at Grace Owen nursery school

Special educational needs and inclusion at Grace Owen nursery school.

Content coming soon!

The Grace Owen Community

At Grace Owen every family is welcomed into the school community. We offer lots of different events and support to everyone throughout each year. Here is what is on offer at school.

Family Breakfast Club

At Grace Owen we provide an optional breakfast for each child.

*We now also offer a range of breakfast choices and drinks every morning until 10am for all family members. This is to give parents/carers a chance to have five minutes in their busy lives to look after themselves as well as their children and the opportunity to chat to other parents/carers. *Currently on hold due to Covid-19 measures.


Once a week we have a food delivery from FareShare which comes from a range of supermarkets. Our families can then help themselves to what is available.

Saturday Specials

*Once a half term we open up our nursery school to our families, their friends and relatives on a Saturday Morning. We host a range of events and activities and then share lunch together. We base these activities on children’s interest and seasonal themes. For example story telling, Peppa Pig’s Birthday, the Pirate Party, Chinese New Year, Easter and a Pottery Craft Special run by two of our families. *We are following Covid-19 measures therefore Saturday Specials and/or content may be limited.

Family Learning

* We offer a range of workshops for parents and carers over the year. Free creche places are provided for children of families attending these sessions. Watch out for more information displayed around nursery. *Currently being held online.