Young Friends Nature Curriculum

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework is set by the UK government’s Department for Education, and defines the standards that your child should reach by the end of the reception year. To reach these standards, we have developed a unique curriculum which incorporates our sustainable ethos and aspirations, building a firm foundation in readiness for life.

The Three Pillars of Sustainability

Our nursery curriculum has the Three Pillars of Sustainability at its foundation. True sustainability happens when social, economic, and environmental values are considered. Our activities, provocations, and environments consider all three concepts, which we have also linked to the 7 areas of learning within the EYFS. By following the Young Friends Nature Curriculum, we know we are authentically embedding a life-long commitment to protecting our planet and can be confident our children are on their way to reaching the level of development expected by the end of the reception year.

The concept of the Three Pillars was first explored by the World Wildlife Fund in 1980. They defined sustainable development as that which ‘‘must take account of social and ecological factors, as well as economic ones.’’

A Unique approach to Early Years Foundation Stage


We establish a social consciousness, with the children seeing themselves as a member of a community (whether it be their nursery pod, their family, their hometown, their country, or their global community). Caring for others and at the same time developing their own voices and nurturing their own well-being.


We encourage our children to be respectful and care for their environment as a whole and more specifically flora and fauna.


We instil an economic awareness. There is an expectation to look after resources at nursery and their environment around them and think about how we can reuse and recycle. We think about the cost to our pocket, the community, and the planet.

A Flexible Approach to Curriculum Planning

Young Friends Nature Curriculum has sustainability at its heart. When building our curriculum, we placed our aspirations for the children at the foundation; what we want them to know and learn by the time they go to school.


How Do Our Children Experience the Young Friends Curriculum?

Our activities, conversations, and provocations will help them to……….


  • Executive function/ self-regulation – develop the skills to enable them to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully.
  • Emotional Health and Literacy – name and understand their emotions.
  • Physical Health – develop their fine and gross motor skills (needed for crawling, walking etc through to pen control), beginning to listen to their body and gain some control.
  • Cultural curiosity and respect – have an interest and understanding of their community and culture, and the community and culture of others.
  • Communication – ensure they are using their ‘voice’, whether verbal or non-verbal and to hear the voices of others.
  • Building relationships – Develop respectful friendships and empathy. Developing theory of mind (the ability to ‘tune in’ to someone else’s thoughts).



  • Flora and Fauna – develop a knowledge and understanding for plants and creatures we meet on our explorations and beyond.
  • Respect for our planet – understand that our environment needs looking after to enable it to stay healthy.
  • Becoming natural researchers – Have a sense of curiosity and wonder. To ask why, how, and where. Enjoy books as a source of knowledge and develop a love of stories.



  • Critical and creative thinking – think out the box and develop a sense of wonder. To have the freedom to explore in a creative way.
  • Understanding mathematical concepts – understand early concepts, e.g., numbers, grouping and positional language.
  • Playing symbolically – develop creative and non-literal thinking, self-expression, and imagination


We consider what we want our children to learn, what we can do to facilitate this and what the outcome will be. Ofsted call this “The Three I’s,” intent, implementation and impact or curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment.

Curriculum (intent) is the content, the ‘what’ we want children to know in order to embed our ethos and reach the EYFS standards.

Pedagogy (implementation) is the process we use to teach children: how we ‘deliver’ the curriculum. We adapt our activities, questioning, conversations, Eco-Warrior Values and even our choice of resources to help the children gain the knowledge, skills, and behaviours they need.

Assessment (impact) is how we know this is working. It also helps us to further shape the curriculum and the ‘pedagogy’ we use to effectively deliver it. We assess our children each season (four times a year) using our growth cycle. The outcome of our assessments let us know if each child is developing well or needing support, thus illustrating the efficacy of our curriculum.

We have developed a Growth Cycle to help us to reach these aspirations and to ensure our children will transition smoothly to school, within the expectations of the Early Years Foundation Stage. The cycle contains 3 steps of growth towards an intended outcome. We understand children’s learning isn’t linear so know our children will move at their own pace through the cycle, moving backwards and forwards within in all three stages.



We post our monthly interests in a newsletter on Famly so parents can see what their children are doing and join in where possible. We make suggestions for home, so learning can be continued and deepened.


High Quality Interactions

From a very young age, our children start to develop an understanding of their place in the world, and how they can make a difference. It sets the pattern for a lifetime of responsible habits that will help ensure they grow up into citizens who will benefit our planet.

It’s also amazing how much progress the children make. Our approach builds their confidence and resilience. By encouraging them to explore their own interests, and learn at a pace that suits them, we help them to develop love of learning and sense of self that will last them a lifetime.

At this age, your child’s brain is making more connections than it ever will again. The extra attention they get from our well-trained staff means that they get the most from their kindergarten experience at this crucial point in their development, and will move on to school superbly equipped to flourish.

Considering all of this, we can be sure that not only will your child reach or exceed the level of development expected by the end of the EYFS, but they’ll also have a lifelong commitment to protecting our planet.