Early Years/Pre-School

Our Early Years provision is varied, interesting, challenging, and fun.  We put the children at the heart of everything we do.  We aim to create a safe, nurturing environment where children feel valued, stimulated, and encouraged to reach their potential.  We treat each child as a unique individual and make sure that children of all ages, stages of development and backgrounds have equal opportunity to play, learn and develop.


At Over the Rainbow we closely follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory Framework.  Our activities and provision are planned to offer a rich and varied curriculum covering the seven areas of the EYFS.  These are split into the three prime areas covering Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, and Physical Development, and the four specific areas of Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.  All of these areas are very closely interlinked, and we ensure that children of all ages and stage of development have access to provision that develops their learning and understanding in each of the areas in a fun and engaging way.

If you would like to know more about the EYFS, please see the What to Expect in the Early Years Foundation Stage guide for parents.  This is a handy guide about what each area of the EYFS means in practice and checkpoints for ages and stages of development.  Please ask a member of the staff team if you would like to know more about how we apply the EYFS within Over the Rainbow.

Our Environment

We offer free flow each day between our indoor and outdoor spaces, allowing the children to decide where they would like to play.

Indoors, our open plan space allows children to see each other and engage with the other children and practitioners.  We have created zones within the open plan space to allow for more focussed learning and engagement with varied resources.  Each area within the provision is designed to provide opportunities for all children to access an area of interest, build their imagination, work on their problem-solving skills, investigate and interact with resources, and to create and bring their wonderful and unique ideas to life.  Some of our main areas within our indoor space are:

  • Home Corner
  • Art and Craft area and Creation Station
  • Construction and small world
  • Sand and Water
  • Book nook
  • “Chill out”, relaxation and sensory area

We also have a great outdoor space where the children can run, jump, hop, skip, climb and crawl, explore, investigate and much more!  We have our soft surface area where children enjoy playing on bikes, scooters and balance bikes to improve their balance, co-ordination, sense of direction and spatial awareness.  We have our reading area where children can enjoy books with their friends in the fresh air.  Our tyres and crates create the perfect open-ended resources for imagination and play.  One day we could have an obstacle course, another day a space rocket, and sometimes a train for us all to join.  The possibilities are endless and are a wonderful way for the children to problem solve and work together in an imaginative way.  Our small world and outdoor construction space is also very popular amongst the children outside as well as inside.

We enjoy working on our mark making skills using chalks to draw on the floor and fence, use water and paintbrushes to mark make, and also have our outdoor classroom where more traditional mark making equipment can be freely accessed.  We have a wide range of outdoor games and sports equipment to practice a range of skills.

We enjoy planting and looking after a wide range of fruits and vegetables each year.  We are particularly proud of our pumpkins which are perfect for carving (and cooking with) at Halloween!  We enjoy watering the plants, weeding, picking them when they are ready, and the best part of all eating them at snack time!

On the other side of our garden we have our mud kitchen, potion station and natural exploration area.  We enjoy looking after our bug hotel and seeing what we can spot amongst all the sticks, leaves and tiles.  We have some exciting renovations planned for this area of the garden to really maximise the natural area, and providing even more opportunities for our children to connect with nature and the natural world.

Indoors or outdoors there is a wide range of activities and resources on offer for your children to explore.  We welcome you to get in touch and book a show round to see our provision for yourself.

The role of the Key Person

Your child will be allocated a Key Person as soon as they come to Over the Rainbow.  They will be the main practitioner involved in planning for your child and tracking their learning and development.  Occasionally, in the first couple of weeks your child’s Key Person may change if they have formed a strong bond with another practitioner within the Setting.  The bond between child and Key Person can be very special and they will communicate with you regularly about your child’s progress both at Over the Rainbow, and what you notice they are particularly enjoying at home.  We understand that you know your child more than anyone, so your input and contribution towards your child’s enjoyment, learning and development at Over the Rainbow is invaluable.  Your child’s Key Person plans regular activities based on their current interests and stage of development.  Each child is unique, and therefore learn in different ways.  By focusing on each child as an individual, they are able to express themselves and learn and play in an environment suited to their needs and interests.

While the Key Person role in crucial in developing positive attachments and relationships, all of our team know all the children really well.  We get to know each child, their interests, any particular likes, dislikes and personality traits that makes your child who they are.  We all appreciate the trust you as parents and carers put in us to care for your children and provide a really positive early years experience for them.

Weekly Activities

We are proud to offer a range of activities each week.  In addition to the weekly Key Person planning for individual children, we offer other activities such as:

Mini Masterchef – the children have the opportunity to learn new skills and try out a wide range of cooking techniques.  We all sit together to enjoy their wonderful creations and bakes for snack that afternoon.

Yoga – Cosmic Yoga is a wonderful way for the children to practice yoga and mindfulness in a fun and engaging way.

ScienTots – Steph from ScienTots joins us on a Wednesday for our weekly Science workshops.  We learn about a wide range of scientific topics such as space, colour, our bodies, bugs and so much more in a fun and interactive way.

Story Time at Dunnington Library – those children going to School take it in turns to go down to the library in Dunnington for their story time.  The children then choose a few books to bring back up to Over the Rainbow to share with their friends for the week.


We use Tapestry as a way of communicating between yourselves and your child’s Key Person.  We encourage you to upload pictures and comments of your child after special events such as birthdays, holidays, days out, spending time with family and friends, as well as special milestones such as first swimming lessons, riding a bike etc.  Also, by sharing current interests such as books they are enjoying, favourite games, new toys etc, we have a full picture of your child and their personal experiences at home.  We can celebrate these achievements with your child and use this to help support our planning too.

In the EYFS framework it states that “assessment should not entail prolonged breaks from interactions with children, nor require excessive paperwork”.  At Over the Rainbow we will use Tapestry to show some of our activities and special moments.  However, our team will be more focussed on interacting with your child than breaking away from these moments and opportunities for learning to take pictures and sit on a tablet to upload multiple observations.  They will be really getting to know your child and engaging with them in a more meaningful way.  Every term, you will receive a full written progress summary from your child’s Key Person.  This will highlight their learning and development in each area of the EYFS, as well as outlining our next steps for your child’s learning journey at Over the Rainbow.  We will also suggest ideas on how you can support your child’s learning and development at home.  We encourage you to speak to us at any time if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s learning and development.

To enquire or apply for a place, book a show round, or book some settling in sessions for your child, please click here.