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More about the Nursery


By the time children start Nursery, they have already had a variety of experiences and have developed in a number of ways. To build upon the learning that has taken place in the home and its immediate environment, Nursery staff provide children with a rich variety of challenging play activities and other experiences in a stimulating environment. The focus is to allow children to learn at their own pace, gain a positive image of themselves as learners, be able to cope with uncertainty and to learn through trial and error.

The staff of Donacloney Nursery Unit believe that play is an essential and rich part of the learning process. We aim to build on the children’s natural curiosity and enthusiasm for learning.



This is set out under six discrete headings:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Language Development
  • Physical Development and Movement
  • Early Mathematical Experiences
  • The Arts
  • The World Around Us

Children will experience these in a holistic way through play and other relevant experiences.

We aim to develop the whole child



As the children starting the nursery class are of such a young age it is very important that the staff should build up a good relationship with each individual child and his/her parents. It is for this reason that just a small group of children is admitted to the nursery class at a time so that we can concentrate on settling them in before more arrive.

For the first three weeks children will be at school for a limited period each day which will be increased by the teacher according to how he/she settles.



Each month our activities are based around a new topic or theme with desirable learning outcomes planned for each of the six areas of development. Topics include:



  • Autumn
  • All About Me

  • The Farm
  • Christmas
  • Winter
  • Food
  • Vehicles

  • Spring
  • Minibeasts
  • Summer
  • The Seaside


The Nursery staff observe children at play and keep a record of these observations. This enables us to offer challenge to the children and provide progression in play activities while taking into account the needs of individual children.



Parents are invited to meet with the teacher at the end of October after the settling in process and again later in February to discuss progress. A standardised form called a Transition Form is completed by the teacher and sent to the child’s P1 teacher at the end of the school year.


The children always enjoy special visitors in the Nursery. These are generally organised in conjunction with our topics and may include:

  • The Streamvale Farm Roadshow
  • Debbie Doolittle's Wildlife
  • Oxford Island Outreach Programme
  • Belfast Zoo – Education Officer and animals
  • Talk by Community Nurse
  • Dental Health Talk
  • A Mother and baby
  • Pets and baby farm animals
  • Jo Jingles



Later in the school year, the nursery class attends the school assembly on Friday mornings and during the summer term we  take the children for informal visits to Primary One. This gives the children an opportunity to meet the P.1 teacher and become aware of the school layout, as well as gaining valuable experiences for the next step in their education.



Milk or water and a healthy snack are provided each morning.



We ask for a voluntary contribution of £2 each week towards our Nursery Fund. This money is used to provide the snack and to buy resources for the Nursery, many of which are consumable.



All children who attend the nursery class are provided with a dinner. This provides the children not only with a well-balanced, nutritious meal but also with an opportunity to develop socially.



The nursery children have their own uniform as follows:

  • Bottle green Nursery sweatshirt and joggers, white polo shirt.
  • Grey pinafore or skirt for girls, if preferred.
  • Practical outdoor shoes should be worn. Avoid buckles and laces.