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Early Years Foundation Stage and Froebel Approach


We follow the Froebelian approach to children’s’ learning and education in addition to the EYFS. This approach is embedded within our framework and allows us to address the children’s needs in more specific ways. We focus on observing young children, understanding their interests and levels of development and plan for them accordingly. The Froebelian approach is not a method and therefore we ensure all of our staff team attend training and receive mentoring and coaching internally to fully understand how the approach underpins our practice.

Froebel emphasised the importance of the outdoors, both by learning in nature by allowing children the responsibility of growing plants and also through being an active participant of the local community. The approach is guided by a set of principles which is stemmed from a child-centred understanding that must include the opportunity for real life, first-hand experiences.


Froebel believed that children learn by listening and observing behaviours which they then master and copy in order to interact with their peers or express their emotions. As they get older they can link the natural world with maths and literacy, express their feelings through art or dance and it is the adults' role to guide that learning. 

As discussed by Helen Tovey (2017) the Froebelian approach is a principled one which can be expressed by focusing on the following principles:

  • Respect

  • Connectedness

  • Play, talk and first hand experiences

  • Creativity

  • Freedom and Guidance

  • Play Outdoors

  • Community

  • Positive Relationships

  • Well Qualified Early Years Professionals




A Froebelian approach is inherently respectful of young children. It views children as powerful learners, motivated from birth to explore, investigate and be curious about the world and to try, through their own efforts, to understand it. Education should build on this powerful urge to learn. 



Learning should be meaningful and connected to children's own experiences. It should not be divided up into subjects but should be experienced as a meaningful whole so that children can connect new ideas to what they already know. A view of the whole child is paramount, for everything is linked. 


Play, talk and first-hand experiences

Play, talk and first-hand experiences are central to young children's learning. Play integrates all learning and is the leading form of development in children, allowing them to operate at their highest level.


Creativity is the essence of being human and is fundamental to learning. Creativity enables children to make connections between their inner world of feelings and ideas and their outer world of things and experiences, and to reflect on them both. Play, imagination and symbolic representation are important features of creativity. 

Freedom and guidance 

Free movement, free choice and self-activity are important, but they should be within a framework of guidance in which the role of the adult is crucial

Play outdoors

Direct, everyday experience of the natural world outdoors is essential so that children can learn to appreciate its wonders and begin to understand the interrelationship between all living things. The nursery garden is a rich environment offering potential for all areas of learning



Nurseries and schools should be democratic, respectful communities of learners, where adults and children can learn from each other. They should be closely connected to the wider community of people and places


Positive relationships

Relationships should be close, trusting, responsive, interactive and intellectually engaging. They should build on the positive characteristics of each individual child, extending what they can already do, rather than what they are not yet able to do 

Well informed and qualified educators

The care and education of young children is essential to society. Young children are entitled to knowledgeable and well qualified professionals who are deeply informed about and attuned to the distinctive nature of young children's learning and development. Practitioners must constantly strive to develop their understanding through training observation, research, reflection and discussion.

All practitioners will be trained in the Froebelian approach and will be expected to understand and implement the underlying principles.


The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The Nursery curriculum is planned in accordance with the ‘childcare act 2006’ and the revised framework for the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage 2017’, and the safeguarding and welfare requirements within this. We aim to manage the setting competently so that the quality practice of the nursery means that we are effective in the following themes:

Unique child; every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. Practitioners understand and observe each child’s development and learning, assess progress, plan for next steps. Support babies and children to develop a positive sense of their own identity and culture. Identify any need for additional support, keep children safe, value and respect all children and families equally.

Positive Relationships; Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships. Positive relationships are; warm and loving, and foster a sense of belonging, sensitive and responsive to the child’s needs feelings and interests, supportive of the child’s own efforts and independence, consistent in setting clear boundaries, stimulating, built on key person relationships in early year’s settings.

Enabling Environments; Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers. Enabling Environments, value all people, value learning. Offer stimulating resources, relevant to all the children’s cultures and communities, rich learning opportunities through play and playful teaching, support for children to take risks and explore.

Learning and Development; Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early year’s provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. Practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development. They foster the characteristics of effective early learning; Playing and exploring, Active learning, Creating and thinking critically.

We will incorporate an environment which encourages the following characteristics of effective teaching and learning for children;

  • 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, Keeping trying, Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

  • Creating and thinking critically – thinking; having their own ideas, Making links, Choosing ways to do things.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning and the prime and specific areas of Learning and Development are all interconnected. The ways in which the child engages with other people and their environment – playing and exploring, active learning, and creating and thinking critically – underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner. The prime areas begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences, and run through and support learning in all other areas. The prime areas continue to be fundamental throughout the EYFS. The specific areas include essential skills and knowledge. They grow out of the prime areas, and provide important contexts for learning.

Prime areas are fundamental, work together, and move through to support development in all other areas.

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Making relationships, self-confidence and self-awareness, Managing feelings and behaviour.

  • Communication and Language; Listening and attention, Understanding, Speaking

  • Physical Development; Moving and handling, Health and self-care.

Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.

  • Literacy; Reading, Writing.

  • Mathematics; Numbers, Shape, space and measure

  • Understanding the World; People and communities, The world, Technology

  • Expressive Arts and Design; Exploring and using media and materials, Being imaginative


Assessment and Reporting


Assessment is an essential part of the learning process. Regular observations and assessments are recorded on each and every child, after assessment our practitioners will prepare and assist in scaffolding children into next learning opportunity activities which contribute towards future planning. Practitioners use assessment information to track the progress of individual children on a formative and summative basis. The Managers use this information to monitor the effectiveness of the teaching and curriculum.


Activities and Extended Learning Opportunities


Children have an active role – they are not passively receiving knowledge, but are making sense of all the information that surrounds them through their physical experiences in their world, their emotions and sensations, and in relationships with others. We must first observe children in action, next assess what this might mean in terms of children’s interests and current development, and then respond through planning and what the appropriate teaching input would be.

The right kind of experiences and support can help children to become confident, creative, motivated doers and thinkers so that the early years build strong foundations for all they will encounter in the future.


  • Anything that we do in the nursery should be an extension of what the children already know or have experienced. We deepen their learning.

  • All activities and extended learning opportunities should only come from current observations of individual children, either over a one off observation, or a collection of observations either at nursery or at home

  • Adult initiated activities – for over 2’s a teacher should  be sat with the children,  engaged in the same activity as them guiding and role modelling the learning.  Activities should be planned carefully for individual interests and developmental needs. Children should not be forced to partake in an activity if they do not want to. The environment should be set up to meet all seven areas of development and to encourage free flow play. Free access to the garden should be made available where possible.

  • Teachers should be careful when interacting with children’s play and only join when invited by the children

  • Adult initiated activities- for under 2’s activities should not be limited to one area e.g. on one table however, the environment should be carefully planned for individual interests and developmental needs. The need for physical activities should be taken into consideration and access to the garden made available where possible. The environment should be set up to meet the Prime areas of development with access to the Specific areas where appropriate. Children should not be forced to partake in activities instead the environment should enable their learning and provide a safe, stimulating space for babies and toddlers to explore freely.

  • All activities should be highlighting real life experiences e.g. no flash cards, no work sheets, no templates, no pre-conceived ideas, nothing printed from the internet, no themes or topics

  • The teachers should follow the children’s lead around the room making informed observations of each individual child

  • Communication and interaction with the children should offer focused and specific open ended questions, the teacher should allow themselves to be silent, so that the children have opportunities to question and query

  • Teachers should spend time extending children’s language through meaningful encounters, such as labelling objects, reinforcing positive behaviour, giving children new words by adding to a sentence e.g. ‘bowl’ ‘small bowl’ ‘small round bowl’

  • Teachers should narrate their own actions and problem solving in order to introduce that language to all children

  • When asking a question to any child, wait at least seven seconds before expecting a reply, this allows for the child to think about what you have asked. Try not to ask too many questions at any one time.

  • No more than one teacher at an activity, teachers should be distributed around the room to follow the children’s learning and ensure all children are safe and supervised

  • We do not tell the children what part of the room they should be in, or what resource to use, we follow them. If children are introduced to a new area or role play, interaction and suggestions can be modelled by the teacher but not assumed or forced upon children.

  • For circle time activities children should not be forced to be involved, if they wish to walk away and come back that is accepted. For pre-school children we actively encourage involvement in group activities to prepare for the next stage of their education.

  • Children must have the opportunity to teach the adult. This is an opportunity for the adult to interpret what the child is saying in order to continually foster the children’s learning. E.g. if the child has mastered a new skill such as hopping on one leg and wants to show the adult what to do. The adult must be open to this and ask open questions to encourage thinking and reflection.



Walls Display and Children’s artwork


We aim to provide an attractive, stimulating and appropriate environment for learning. It is important that each room enables children to participate in sharing their interests, learning and achievements through display, photographs and visual representations.

At LTNS we are reducing the use of display boards, however those that are still in use should follow the guidance below.

Young children learn through the process of ‘doing’ the activity, the end product is less important, and this is reflected in a variety of ways

  • There should be photographs of the children partaking in activities, either on the wall in frames or in shared photo albums

  • There should be a mix of low level displays and mid-level displays

  • Anything displayed should only be on a display board or displayed on a shelf or on the back of a piece of furniture and always at child height. Nothing should be stuck on the walls or windows.

  • Displays are based on children’s interests and observations, or following the talking and thinking books. Not themes or adult initiated.

  • Positive images of people, and appropriate use of language in all forms reflective of our families and community.

  • Varied and rich examples or environmental print for directions, labels, instructions and information.

  • Every classroom should have a family board display, children from around the world display following our own children’s multi-cultural heritage, and the rest should be displayed following the children’s interest and learning.

  • Displays should be inside, outside and in communal areas.


The aim of our displays in the classrooms are for children, as much as we like the parents to enjoy what their children have created, the displays are purely for the purpose of the children:

  • To raise children’s self confidence

  • To encourage and stimulate

  • To inform and involve

  • To raise awareness of the environment

  • To develop home-nursery links

  • To share and celebrate success

  • To celebrate different cultures, religions and ethnicity

  • To celebrate children’s own work

  • To develop respect and appreciation


What  we do display:

  • Children’s paintings, drawings, mark makings or sculptures 3d/4d creations

  • Information related to children’s learning e.g. ‘we planted a sunflower seed and it has grown 60 cm tall’

  • Children’s models

  • Photographs

  • Routines

  • Pictures and posters

What we display for adults on our notice boards:

  • Health and safety information

  • Children and staff allergy information in appropriate rooms

  • Policies and procedures, registration and insurance documents

  • Pictures and posters

  • Information on curriculum and planning

  • General information for parents

  • Team board showcasing our experienced team


Preparation and Guidelines

The team have a shared bank of creative skills however, to really tap into creativity at its best we use the children’s lead. Creativity is one of those words that is bursting with vitality. Participating in arts and crafts activities activates both sides of the brain, both the linear left hemisphere and the creative, non-sequential right hemisphere. Both types of activities are excellent for helping children reach their full potential. The children are encouraged to look at art in their local area as well as visiting art galleries such as the Tate and local galleries. The activities provided enable children to think creatively, with an open mind. The children engage in a variety of activities with various modes and media. The older children are introduced to new muses on a rolling six week programme. For example one week we may look at Kandinsky and the patterns he creates, the next may be Monet and our children will be on Clapham common painting their interpretation of the reeds and grass in the wind, the next Mark Rothko and experimenting with block colour. The opportunities are endless. They learn to observe and describe, analyse and interpret, express feelings, with or without words. It is a great experience where children will discover that there is more than one right answer and explore multiple points of view. Arts introduce children to cultures from around the world. Finally art builds confidence.  Because there is not just one right way to make art, every child can feel pride in his or her original artistic creations.

  • We plan displays carefully choosing combinations of colours and photos

  • We use a variety of media, textures, colours, shapes and sizes

  • We use hessian backed display boards to reduce visual distraction and enhance content

  • Displays have a clear purpose

  • Displays are regularly maintained and may grow over a period of time to follow the extension of children’s learning in a certain area

  • Display signage uses focussed and appropriate language

  • Signage and labelling is printed using Comic Sans font to promote early letter and word recognition

  • Laminated speech bubbles should link to the artwork or photos to display key things the children said during their activity

  • The photos on display should be printed on no smaller than A5 or A4 so that the images can be seen clearly. Photos should be laminated so not to be ripped off the wall.

  • Artwork needs to be hung straight and not wonky

  • Artwork needs to be displayed with a name typed and above the upper left hand of the artwork or photo.

  • Artwork will be labelled and dated on the back of the children’s artwork when it is created

  • We will not cut, write or deface children’s artwork

  • We will celebrate the children’s artwork the joy that it is, not what people think it should look like

  • Artwork should never be a template or adult led, there should be no displays of pre-set animals, flowers etc. It should all come from the child’s imagination and creativity.

  • Artwork should not be influenced by adult ideas

  • We are to extend children’s learning for example- a child wants to paint flowers, offer the child to go and collect some flowers from the garden, so they have a real life object to take inspiration from. Provide a variety of colours and painting tools chosen by the child.

  • Allow the children to take as long as they want on their painting, to leave and come back to it, to try again, to extend.

  • Offer a variety of paper sizes and colours

  • Do not choose the colour of the paint or tools for the children, we offer a variety of choice

  • Children should not wear aprons as it restricts their movement

  • Art activities should not just be table bound or inside, they should be offered inside, outside, on the floor, wall and table.


Classroom and Garden set up


The environment is very important for each child’s development. To ensure it is safe and suitably set up to challenge and support children’s individual needs the following process is in place;

  • Before opening of the classroom, the room must be risk assessed by the team in the room every morning before children enter

  • The room must be set up with breakfast out and activities out before children enter the room

  • Classical music should be playing

  • Snack and water cups should be in the room ready for snack at the beginning of the day

  • Once breakfast is finished, breakfast should be cleared away and other resources put out on the table

  • The classroom should always have a continuous provision of resources out

  • Items should be displayed in their correct baskets and labelled clearly in multiple languages

  • All sides should be tidy and clear

  • Broken resources need to be taken to the Managers office

  • The classroom should be tidied up along the day, items should not be scattered along the floor if the children are not interacting with them

  • Children should be encouraged to tidy up as they go along, when age and stage appropriate

  • Do not tidy a resource away if a child is interacting or using it.

  • We allow resources to be taken to the garden as long as they are brought back to the classroom

  • Resources in the room should be age and stage appropriate

  • At the close of each day, all items should be returned to their correct baskets/place.

  • Chairs and tables wiped down

  • Art easels need to be cleaned

  • Sand to be sieved of items

  • Nothing left in sink or around nappy changing areas

  • Bins emptied

  • Close risk assessment should be done before leaving



  • The garden should be risk assessed first thing in the morning before children enter the building and throughout the day

  • The garden should be set up with continuous provision resources throughout the day which meet the developmental requirements of all children

  • All children should visit the garden twice a day for no shorter than 30 minutes, ideally an hour am and pm.

  • Regardless of weather, children should always access to the garden every day and should be dressed correctly. If it is raining they must have wellies and waterproof jackets. If it is hot and sunny they must wear sun cream and sunhats and have access to fresh drinking water.

  • Rain, snow, sunshine, frost etc are deemed suitable weather conditions to be outside in, if it is a thunderstorm then it is deemed to be no suitable conditions to be outside in

  • When a group of children is leaving the garden, they must make sure to tidy items away and re set up the garden for the next group

  • Children should be given at least a 5 minute warning of transitions to prepare for the next activity or part of the day

  • At the end of the day the garden must be tidied away, any messy food play cleared away and paint washed away

  • Close risk assessment should be done before leaving


Staff development


We, in line with the Froebelian approach, respects the need for highly qualified practitioners as this has a significant impact on children’s development, performance at school and their future life chances. At Linden Tree Nursery Schools the early years workforce must be professional, well trained and dedicated to their role which is why we fully invest in our employees by offering extensive training to ensure each practitioner is able to complete their duties confidently and competently.

Linden Tree Nursery Schools has an in house Training Manager, who is dedicated to guiding, coaching and promoting excellent practice across all three settings. They work alongside the setting managers to ensure practitioners receive training which is tailored to their professional needs and/or interests as well as meeting the overall needs of the Nursery.

Regular supervision meetings allow us to identify practitioner’s needs and in turn provides the managers with a clearer picture of their training requirements. As more and more emphasis is put on the early years it is important to keep training up to date and relevant. Adopting the Froebelian approach has allowed us to reflect on our practice effectively and use this, alongside the EYFS, to structure a rich learning environment for all the children.

By offering an in house training programme we are able to ensure that practitioners are kept motivated, their confidence continues to grow and they are kept up to date with legislative changes. In turn we value all reflective and constructive feedback to enable us to strive for excellence. We review practice on a regular basis to ensure training is worthwhile and relevant.

Linden Tree Nursery Schools also offers an exciting opportunity for Graduates to gain experience through the Management Scheme. This gives Graduates the training and tools they need to work up to a managerial position in one of the Nurseries. Throughout this time they will be expected to attend a multitude of training sessions both to keep them updated in Safeguarding and First Aid as well as extensive training workshops in Froebel, best practice and our activities package.


 The Company aims to provide training opportunities which will provide:

  • An induction programme which all staff will be required to undertake and will assist staff settling into their new role/job.

  • A progressive training and development scheme to enable staff to develop, relevant skills and acquire knowledge to underpin their current role and career aspirations.


LTNS offers training and development in the following areas:

  • Bespoke Activities

  • Froebelian principles and practice

  • Supervisions, observations, feedback

  • External and internal training

  • Graduate Management Scheme

  • In house career progression

  • Visits to Froebelian settings such as the Annan School

  • Access to conferences and gatherings across the UK

  • Expeditions to Germany to visit Froebel’s school in Kielhau


Childcare professionals help children to be resilient and prepare them for what's to come in life. This is why tailored training is essential. Training and upskilling are incredibly important in ensuring;

  • Outstanding practice

  • Practitioners are up to date with current legislative changes and are confident in implementing them into practice

  • Practitioners seek the tools which are appropriate to their job role


Because ultimately a knowledgeable workforce impacts the learning opportunities children are exposed to;

  • Practitioners who are more confident are more likely to want to introduce new concepts or try new ideas.

  • Having a quality workforce can impact on children’s learning and development and help them reach their full potential. Therefore it is important that practitioners are constantly updating their skills.


Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

The aims and purposes of the Personal Development Planning (PDP) are:

  • To help managers and staff to make effective arrangements to identify and meet learning needs

  • To develop the skills, knowledge, values and behaviour that staff need to do their current jobs well in order to ensure staff offer quality learning and development experiences for children that continually improves.


The PDP is a part of the one to one review and appraisal system. These allow staff to agree a PDP and  what methods will be used to achieve the development goals as well as the timescale for implementation over the year.

Updated July 2023

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