The school day & Curriculum

Please see below a generalised routine for the Pre School session for 2023 – 2024.
Whilst we try to keep to the times below, there may be adjustments due to what’s planned for that day or other events.

8.45am – 9:00am
Cloakroom, washing hands and Self-Registration

9:00am – 9:05am
Meet/greet time at the carpet area – passing Patch the Bear and discussing what we’re doing that day!

9:05am – 9:25am
Adult-led whole group activity: – ranges from numeracy rhymes, story sacks, topic discussions, music sessions, craft demonstrations (introducing the adult-led craft for that day) or puppet play programmes

9:25am – 10:40am
Free-play indoors, Adult-led art/craft, Open Snack and use of our Direct Outdoor space (Mondays & Wednesdays)

10:40am – 10:55am
Tidy up time and Weather Reporter

10:55am – 11:25am
A varied range of activities each day such as Numeracy with ‘Crispin the Crow’/’Beat Babies’/Music sessions –instrument play, dancing and singing/Number rhymes/Stories & Story Sacks/other puppet programmes

Signing out and getting ready for home time.

Home time – children attending the Extended Service/Afterschools club stay until 1:00pm

Tuesdays & Thursdays differ in routine as we go up to the hall after whole group picnic snack and spend over an hour up in the hall as part of our Physical Development programmes. On Fridays there is no adult-led activities after Snack and the children go to the garden!

How this looks at St. Bernard’s Pre-School Education Centre

  • Painting & Drawing
  • Craft Work
  • Water Play 
  • Sand Play
  • Malleable Materials
  • Junk & Collage
  • Small World Play
  • Puzzles and Board Games
  • Floor Play
  • Role play Corner
  • Sensory Play
  • Gardening & Outdoor Fun
  • Indoor Play – Parish Hall
  • Movement ‘Learn to Move’ Programme/Helping Young Children with a Steady Beat
  • Music, Songs, Rhymes, Instruments
  • Books and Stories
  • Nature & Interest Table
  • Numeracy Development, Problem Solving with Crispin the Crow, musical number rhymes with the Beat Babies
  • The Outdoor classroom – providing different experiences for play through learning
  • Garden play



Children are encouraged to express themselves through paint, choosing their own colours and the amount they do.  We have easels, large sheets of paper and plenty of paintbrushes, fingers, hands etc!  The children are not shown how to paint, they are allowed to develop their own methods and learn from their experiences over a period of time.

Most children find painting a very exciting experience and quickly learn to appreciate colour and patterns, which they may begin to transfer to ones that we, as adults, recognise.  The development into recognisable forms is not an important factor in painting at pre-school, this will come naturally from the ages of about 4-5 years.  Colour and imagination are foremost in their development at this period in their lives.


Children learn many skills through arts and crafts.  There is a huge range of different materials that can be used to practice cutting and sticking, as well as developing hand control.  Craft work stimulates children’s imagination and creativity, as well as develop their thinking skills in how best to use the materials they have.


Plastic aprons are provided (so don’t expect soggy children at pick up time).  Water has a dual role, both soothing children and allowing a safe outlet for aggression.  Not only is there the fascination of playing with water, watching it pour, drip and splash, but also used together with sand, children can learn a lot about weight and volume (under the eye of a watchful member of staff).


Another soothing remedial exercise if poured dry through fingers, or mixed with water and moulded, squeezed, or controlled by various methods and made into something beautifully imaginative.  Mum doesn’t have to clean up the mess afterwards either!


Squeeze it, bash it, flatten it, roll it, cut it, shape it and let imagination run wild.  Children love to explore all the possibilities of shaping and forming dough and clay.  They develop their sense of touch, manipulative dexterity and small motor skills.


It may be junk to us, but just wait till they bring you their rocket ship, boat, dinosaur, fairy, star…..They have so much fun experimenting with paste, scissors, glue and textures.  Collage is a clever method of creating forms as well as encouraging practical skills.


Playing within a miniature world enables a child through imagination and pretend play; to make sense of the world they live in.  This type of play encourages a child to talk out loud; an important stage in learning to think clearly. 


Help to refine manipulative skills, improve hand-eye coordination and strengthen the hand and arm muscles to allow for much finer hand control and delicate finger movements.  Puzzles and board games enable a child to develop both physical skills and important new thinking skills.


An area is set aside as a pretend house, shop, office, vets, etc, with dolls, a kitchen, a till, dressing up clothes etc.  Children can play ‘mummy’s and daddy’s, ‘shopkeeper’, ‘doctor’, ‘fire fighters’, ‘a pilot’ and more, letting their imagination develop through play.


‘At the beach’, ‘Spaghetti Art’ or making ‘Shaving Foam Cakes’, supports children’s development across the 6 areas of learning.  This type of play encourages children to develop a narrative to go alongside their play.


We will provide children with a Home Busy Bag of practical activities (Term 2) for your child that will help them develop their fine motor skills, numeracy and language development…..they are great fun and the children love them!  We also provide five story books for fun reading during the day or as part of their bedtime routine!


Our direct outdoor space may be small, but this area can be used every day by the children in rotating groups. This means that all children get to have outdoor play and fresh air every day (unless extreme weathers) and children benefit from a range of play areas including construction, sand, art easel and mud kitchen. This provides children with a variety of play experiences and promotes friendships within small groups.


Children have access to a garden space beside the Scout Hall.  This natural area will enable children to move more freely to develop their gross motor movements and maintain good mental wellbeing in the fresh air in all weathers.

INDOOR PLAY – Parish Centre Hall

Let them run off steam.  Children love the feeling of simply running, climbing, jumping, throwing, balancing and even catching.  They will strengthen muscles develop their mental alertness and their general health.


Broadening children’s knowledge of different types of music and rhythm, increasing their confidence to feel the music and move their bodies to the beat.  Lots of excitement (and development of listening skills).  Through the use of The Beat Baby Programme, we help children develop beat awareness, as our young children are given opportunities to engage in singing, dancing, rapping and playing with instruments. 


Soothing, exciting, strange, telling a story, sparking the imagination.  Music every day at pre-school.  Singing songs and rhymes, tapping out beats, playing simple instruments and experimenting with sound.  What Fun!  Learning to listen and simple enjoyment.


We have interesting, imaginative and educational books on our bookshelf.  Your child can pick them up, learn how to handle them properly, listen to them being read, learn to tell the story through pictures, fantasy and fact, and develop an enjoyment for the written word.  They may even start to try and read on their own.  We have a regular ‘story’ slot every session.


The outdoor world comes indoors; leaves, bark, seeds (plastic bugs!) and magnifying glasses – wow! Learn about types of leaf, textures, colours, how many legs different insects have?


The outdoor world comes indoors; leaves, bark, seeds (plastic bugs!) and magnifying glasses – wow! Learn about types of leaf, textures, colours, how many legs different insects have?


Wiggle, Jiggle, Count.  This programme uses music to make early number work both irresistible and memorable.  Count forwards and backwards, learn about ordinal number and counting in pairs as children wiggle, jiggle and dance with the Beat Babies.  Children learn to count up to 10 in a fun and multi-sensory approach.  

Problem Solving with Crispin the Crow…this mischievous crow captures children’s fascination as he collects activities in his bag linked to our themes.  The aim of using Crispin is to encourage children to use their problem solving skills and develop early mathematical language.


We provide children with the means to develop their emergent writing skills through the provision of assorted pens and pencils, paper, notebooks, chalk, wipe boards etc.  They are encouraged to work independently; only when they are ready, we help them to form letters to spell their name.


This role is undertaken by Donna Mulhern as the preschool’s Independent Early Years Specialist, and is affiliated with the Independent Early Years Specialist Consortium.  The aim and role of the IEYS is to continue to raise quality provision using forward thinking initiatives in supporting, assessing and developing self-improvement programmes and action planning.  To support staff in ways which enable them as a team to sustain improvement on a continuous professional basis.  

In 2016 Donna was also appointed Associate Assessor with the Education and Training Inspectorate, and to date continues to work in this supporting role participating in pre-school inspections around the province.  This role is vital for the continuous development of quality provision within the early year’s sector, and in my current role as a manager; I can bring greater understanding and professionalism to the inspection in terms of understanding our unique framework and organizational structures.