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The Deerness Valley Way

We have our own pedagogy inspired by great pedagogical researchers like Friedrich Fröbel, Maria Montessori, the Emilio Reggio schools and Loris Malaguzzi, the work done at Trimdon Grange Infants lead by Catherine Worton, and our Christian beliefs.

This means what we do, and the ways we lead learning may be unlike other places you have seen. We believe children are capable, unique individuals with huge potential for growth, imagination, and autonomy. This belief, mixed with our Values, shapes what we do, the experiences we offer, and how we work with the children collaborating in their learning.

Mixed Age


We spend a lot of time outside. Come rain or shine we offer outside as a constant option and find that all children will choose to be outside most of the time despite the weather! Outside in the garden we can be louder, and quieter; there’s lots of space to move and run, and to sit and look at small things in the grass; the environment is always changing and always interesting. We don’t tend to say things like “it’s a horrible day” when we see the grey rain but find the delight and wonder in the tracks the rain leaves on the ground and splash in the puddles.


Real Tools and Safe Risks

One thing that we do every session every day is prepare a meal together. We use real chopping boards, knives, peelers, pots and pans to make a real, nutritious and delicious meal. Our staff teach children how to safely use these real tools and support their safe use. We believe that learning to manage your own understanding of and responses to risk are essential skills, and so we do not remove all risks but instead teach, coach, model, demonstrate, supervise and support managing them.


Mixed Age Family Groups

Our children spend their time as a whole nursery family group, and mixed age play and learning is encouraged. At certain times of the day children of similar stages spend short sessions working together with an adult to learn or practice a particular skill, such as maths or pre-reading phonics skills.


This means that any news, concerns or questions you might have about your child you can bring to any member of staff as we all will know your child well.


We work this way because we believe that family is the most natural environment for a child. We find that the role model of the older and more sophisticated learner enables the younger children to develop their own learning and play. Just think about all the things your second child learns from your first, and how rewarding that is for the older child to be the “expert”.

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