Life in the Early Years

Be sure to check out our Facebook page, where there are regular updates, showcasing some of the fun that our Early Years children have been experiencing!

About Moorfield Early Years

“Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water. Through an active, reciprocal exchange, teaching can strengthen learning how to learn.”  Loris Malaguzzi

At Moorfield, children “learn how to learn”. They explore, question, experiment, brainstorm, theorize, understand. They are active, inquisitive, innovative, creative, focused. They communicate ideas, form relationships, face challenges, solve problems, and create knowledge. We are incredibly proud of our unique child-led approach to learning, which allows all our children to become masters of curiosity and discovery.

Nestled next to our main school, Moorfield Early Years provides a naturally bright, cosy and stimulating environment in which children aged 2 – 5 years old can explore and grow. Alongside the free flow provision to our indoor and outdoor environments, the children also receive specialised teaching in: music, bushcraft, PE and cookery.

The youngest children at Moorfield enjoy a gentle introduction to school life and creative exploration. With a teacher to child ratio of 1:4, children are afforded plenty of individual attention in an intimate setting. Children in the Nursery develop relationships with teachers and friends while exploring Children develop knowledge about materials, play, and relationships that form the foundation for preschool learning. Throughout the year the Nursery children play and make friends, developing and learning using a wide variety of open-ended materials that spark curiosity and cultivate creativity. They have great fun, exploring and creating, indoors and outside. They gain independence and confidence and their natural curiosity is encouraged at all times.

It’s so lovely here, I could cry! It feels like home.” (Parent comment)

Our older children are competent, creative, co-actors in the daily life of Reception. Our classroom is designed to foster cooperative play and work in a setting that is rich in materials and opportunities. Children may explore and learn through construction and engineering play, through drama and make believe, through the graphic languages of writing and drawing, by designing and conducting scientific experiments, or through books and storytelling. Their play is developed much deeper in Reception, with the introduction of short daily phonics and maths inputs – when they start to connect these skills together, their play experiences become magical and all the more purposeful.

Working and playing together, the children in our Early Years develop an understanding of social relationships, including an ability to negotiate and collaborate, to take another’s perspective and provide empathy, to persevere through social challenges and to be solution-seekers within our community.

Teachers [use their] extensive knowledge of children’s learning and the child’s interests to maximise learning potential and purposeful contexts for learning… Children are afforded the rich opportunities needed to initiate ideas and activities, so they can develop the learning characteristics supporting lifelong learning.” (Moderation report)

Good home-school communication is fundamental to your child’s continued progress. Parent communication is very important to us we strive to involve all family members in our daily life.  As well as an open-door policy allowing daily communication, we also offer more formal meetings to discuss your child’s progress, held at any time throughout the year.

We use an online system to record children’s learning and to make observations as they explore and progress. These observations, which link to the EYFS curriculum, are shared digitally with parents at the end of each week. We encourage contributions from home too, via our simple observation email system.

 “Thank you for [my child’s] learning profile – it is such a wonderful way of representing their achievements and giving us an insight into school life. They look to have so much fun while they are learning!” (Parent comment )

Our Unique Approach to Play

Moorfield starts and ends with a strong image of the child – we view the child as already whole, complete, competent, resourceful, perfect as they are- and as ‘playful adults’, we are ready to play alongside them to nurture each child in correspondence to their interests, allowing them the gift of time to be children and to develop and extend their purposeful play.

  • We encourage the wonder, curiosity and possibilities that can only come from a child and their innate desire to explore the world around them, learning alongside them through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing and hearing.
  • We cultivate a strong relationship with the child through learning and play being active in the process we create together. 
  • We step back, allowing children to think critically, make mistakes, giving them the courage and resources to self-correct. 
  • We upkeep and enhance a fluid, natural environment full of beauty, discovery and reflection: small natural items, mirrors, light, open ended objects and quality experiences. 
  • We place great importance on mutual respect, listening and discussion. We seek to teach children to resolve their own conflicts.

High quality interactions between practitioners and children are resulting in children demonstrating resilience, collaboration, creative thinking, problem solving and perseverance.” (Moderation report)

We know from experience that our exceptional approach to learning enables children to develop outstanding skills across the breadth of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and beyond. In the years 2018 and 2019, the percentage of our Reception children achieving an ‘expected’ or ‘exceeding’ judgement across the seventeen areas of the EYFS curriculum, was 99%. This compares to a 2018 national average of 70.2%. These phenomenal results reflect the outstanding quality of learning that takes place every day in our unique, child-led setting. Beyond this, nearly 50% of our Reception children have been found to exceed the expected levels for the end of the Reception year – a result well above the current national picture. 

Pastoral Care and Wellbeing

Pastoral care is the heart of the Early Years at Moorfield and underpins everything we do. Each child’s individual happiness and personal wellbeing is of utmost importance to every staff member and we pride ourselves on developing confident, healthy and independent children.

Research shows that high levels of emotional wellbeing are essential for children’s development at any age. Children that are the happiest in their setting will make better progress than their peers. It is only when children feel safe and secure, that they can begin to develop high levels of involvement and ultimately make outstanding progress.  As we know that wellbeing directly affects involvement, and therefore a child’s ability to make progress, this is carefully monitored for each child. ‘Caring and sharing’ is promoted from the very start and staff members are always on hand to model good behaviour or just to provide comfort and reassurance.

Children are taught how to become part of a community, whilst valuing their own individuality, how to recognise and build upon their own strengths, and how to live each day, brimming with enjoyment and anticipation for the next adventure.


  • Beautifully designed to accommodate each specific area of learning
  • An enclosed outdoor space, with large shed brimming with open ended resources and shelter to allow all-weather play and learning
  • School grounds – excellent for mud slides, sledging and exploring
  • Mud kitchen – for brewing and baking with soil and slugs
  • Outdoor Tipi and fire pit – perfect for cold winter days
  • A large outdoor multi-purpose games pitch

Out and About

We make regular use of our proximity to Ilkley Moor whether exploring the Tarn, rock scrambling,
hunting for fairies, searching for signs of the changing seasons or just having a spontaneous
adventure! Alongside making memories on the Moor and taking our ‘Little Runners’ around the local
terrain, we have walked or used our minibus to take the following adventures, or had the following
visitors in school, planned with the children’s varying interests in mind: