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  • Church Hill Nursery School
  • Low Hall Nursery School
  • Church Hill Nursery School
  • Low Hall Nursery School

Why Children Flourish at FANS

We provide:

Child-initiated, qualified teacher-led,
play-based curriculum.

Experienced and highly-qualified staff nurture children with high-quality interactions,
weekly individual planning, and meaningful activities.

Children feel joy and wonder, get messy, make mistakes, and learn

We are fully inclusive maintained schools,
where everyone is valued:
we work in partnership with children and their families,
from all faiths and none,
from all cultures,
and with the widest range of needs.

“The child has a hundred languages”

(Loris Malaguzzi; translated by Lella Gandini)

At FANS we speak as many as we can.

We organise and furnish our building and garden for play, and deliver education founded by Margaret McMillan, inspired by the evidence-based theories of Fröbel, Vygotsky, and the Reggio Emilia Educational Project, combined with the latest early years thinking from the East London Research School, the Education Endowment Foundation, and the Forest School Association.

 “To move to run, to find things out by new movement, to feel one’s life in every limb, that is the life of early childhood.”

Margaret McMillan (1930)


“There are three teachers of children: adults, other children and the environment.”

Loris Malaguzzi

Reggio Emilia Educational Project


“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood,
for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child's soul.”

 Friedrich Fröbel (1912)

Families teach

When your child joins FANS we seek to build a strong and respectful relationship with you, learning everything we can about your child.

Highly-trained and qualified staff teach

Our Executive Headteacher, a qualified teacher and artist, leads the creative development of children and staff.

Children build strong relationships with their key people. The high-quality interactions between them create sustained shared thinking: practitioners are genuinely interested, listen and extend children's thoughts and knowledge, model correct language, and extend vocabulary. They collaborate to construct meanings and interpretations together.

Learning is child-initiated but adult-led: children are guided, not directed to achieve our high aspirations.

Week by week, practitioners plan scaffolded learning: tasks that are just beyond the children’s current capability, consolidating and expanding their thinking and knowledge by introducing new language, skills, and ideas. We assess what children are learning and plan for their next steps using our Curricular Goals. These cover the 7 areas of learning of the Early Years curriculum.

We use the ‘Shared Sustained Thinking and Emotional Wellbeing’ (SSTEW scale) to assess and improve our practice.


Tales Toolkit makes storytelling the core of learning and problem solving for any situation: imaginative play, engineering, mathematical or communication.

Theatre, cooking, and working with artists and musicians broaden children’s experience.

Forest School connects children with nature and the changing seasons, benefiting them and the local area and wildlife as they learn to love, appreciate and take care of our natural world. As they take risks and overcome challenges, children develop self-confidence and improve self-esteem, emotional literacy and social skills, as well as physical and mental health. Forest School increases problem-solving skills, vocabulary and understanding.

Out of school

Trips out of school help children understand the world beyond their own homes. We go to the library, museums, and galleries, places of natural beauty and of worship.

Children teach

They create

They experience joy and wonder

They try new things and get messy

They make mistakes and learn from them

They take risks and make judgements on how to keep safe while exploring

The environment teaches

Learning is inside and outside, whatever the weather (we have the will and the wellies).

Our central piazza, where children meet and mingle, our side rooms for quieter times, and our outdoor space are set up to enable children to explore, to make choices independently, and to collaborate with others. Our furniture and block play are made by world-leading experts, Community Playthings.

Children are surrounded by meaningful, play-based activities with an explicit purpose, such as clay or construction materials, drawing or painting.

The environment is rich in number and shape, space and measure experiences which allow children to solve mathematical problems, initially with support and then independently.

Core books present new and familiar ideas, people and worlds, with rich stories that develop a love of reading.

The adult-led snack table supports children to learn to make healthy choices, discuss hygiene and healthy practices, explore new healthy foods, and practise their fine motor skills as well as their social, communication, and mathematical skills.

Animals help children learn to care and be gentle.

We use the ’Early Childhood Environment Rating’ (ECERS) to reflect on the quality of our learning environment, and to identify opportunities for growth and improvement.

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