Jump to content
Join Us
About Us

New To Nursery!


Recommended Posts



I've just found out I'm going to be teaching nursery next academic year and I have to write the long and medium term planning from scratch, starting with topics!


This year they have covered:

- All about me

- Celebrations&Christmas

- Under the sea

- Growing

- Traditional tales

- Jungle


and I need six new topics for next year.


So far I have thought of


- Space

- Myths and Legends (e.g. pirates, princesses etc)


Has anybody else got any ideas that have worked well in the past?


I have been an NQT this year in reception so I really don't know much about nursery at all - please help!!


Thank you!!


Jackie x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nursery isnt always meant to be theme led - if I were you I would have a loose long/medium term plan based around times of year/ seasons/ celebrations and then do your short term planning around what the children show interest in

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you! The reason I have to change the topics is because it runs on a 2 year cycle as the younger children become the older children in the 2nd year so if the topics remained the same those children would do the same things twice. I like the idea of letting it be child-lead. Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We do loose topics to develop vocabulary and enable parents' input. Always topics that have proven to work. Other friends do too at their Nurseries. You could keep first two as younger ones weren't there in first term. We do traditional tales both years and change the stories. Great for Literacy objectives. Change is an open-ended one instead of growth. Summer/holidays is a good one for end of year. We have also done light/dark to link with Winter/Christmas/Divali. Our short term planning follows children's interests, and role-play too. Topics link to seasons. Transport is another good one

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, we have to have a 2 yearly cycle but it is very loose! Our themes our ourselves ( every year in sept), water, festivals, traditional tales, people who help us, things that move, from here to there, creatures( dinasours, minibeast), food and animals (farm, pets). This provide a stimulus for children and usually things that children are interested in anyway, we try to plan from children's interests for individual activities.


In terms of long term planning, mine comes in the form of plans for each area of provision, highlighting key resources, questions and vouch used in the area.


Hope that helps, and enjoy yourself next year, nursery is fab!!


X x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

childrens interests change so much and from year to year. Why not have your themes if you have to but ask the children using a mind map what areas they are interested in.


Also i hate medium plans, don't do one waste of yr time and a tree! Sorry that probably not helpful :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I work in a nursery attached to a school and I am required to give long term and medium term plans to our head. When I started 2 years ago there was a rolling 2 year long term plan in place which was very uninspiring and didn't follow the children's interests. In the filing cabinet was a folder for each topic which I was told I should get out and all of the work was in there ready to go. Lots of work sheets and templates for the children to copy.

The first thing I did, to my new teams horror, was to throw away each folder and told them we were starting a fresh. The first year they found it quite difficult to move away from long term and medium term plans so I made up a very simple long term which showed seasons and celebrations which we would investigate throughout the year such as Autumn and Christmas. They found it extremely difficult to understand that Winter was moved in with Christmas due to the heavy snowfall we had that year and I struggled to get them to understand that the children had moved on from snow in January and making pictures of snowmen when the weather didn't reflect this was pointless.

This year has been more successful and we have gone more with the children's interests and tried to have a loose theme to keep the head happy. We try and work along similar themes as the reception class which can be difficult but it can be done. In January we got it wrong and followed the reception classes theme of transport. Our children were not interested and even though we tried our best to get them motivated it was very much the children joining in with the activity for as long as an adult was involved but then as soon as we moved away they played something else. Chinese New year came and we introduced this to the children expecting it to last a few days. They all were so motivated by the dragon and the dancing that we abandoned transport and went with Chinese New year which lasted 3 weeks. After half term the reception teacher wanted to do people who help us as this was in her opinion a natural progression from transport. The thought of another term of unmotivated children was enough motivation for all my nursery team to say no and that they were welcome to do it but we were not. My nursery children were interested in dragons and making up their own stories so we were going to follow this. We decided on the theme make believe and in nursery we had dragons sleeping in the nursery and aliens crash landing in the garden. It was fantastic and so much learning went on. In reception they used the theme make believe and went down the traditional stories route and looked at Goldilocks and the 3 bears, the 3 little pigs and others which was planned for the summer term. So although we had the same basic theme we were able to choose the route we felt was best for the children in our classes.

My long term plan now still has the very loose themes such as seasons and celebrations which come round each year but has a little note at the bottom stating that how much we cover these will depend on the children's interests. I also have my continuous provision plans in my long term with potential enhancements. My medium term is done ready for the beginning of each half term with a basic theme such as make believe or building so we have lots of room to cater for all our children's needs and also follow whole school topics if necessary. This year the Olympics and Queens Jubilee have been whole school projects. As these all take place in London and our children are all into building we decided to turn part of the nursery into a construction site where we could build structures we might see in London. We have Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge. We brought a climbing frame in and the children have turned this into a house, a block of flats, the three little pigs house to name a few. It has been a fantastic project and we have managed to negotiate what the school wanted and what the children's interests are. Once we got their interest with the buildings it was easy to introduce the Queen and the jubilee. We went to see the Olympic torch so this half term we will incorporate this into a sports theme and see where it takes us.

In the medium term plan I put in potential learning outcomes from the early learning goals to go with ideas of activities we may do. I don't take a great deal of time on this as whatever is decided at this stage will probably change as the term progresses but it keeps the bosses happy.

Planning this way makes it so much more interesting for us adults and seeing the children so engaged and ready to learn is what nursery is all about.


Oh dear, I think I have waffled enough but I am very passionate about following children's interests in your planning I get carried away,



Link to comment
Share on other sites

What does your EYFS leader say? What are the expectations for the whole phase from your leadership?

I'd suggest you discuss this as a phase so that there is continuity in the learning, rather than just a focus on topics. You need to look at this as a two year learning programme for the children who go right through your school EYFS really.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all so much for your help! Clare, thank you for all that information, I think the loose planning is definately the way forward and I adore the idea of a topic called 'make believe'!


Thanks again, I love this site and you're all so kind to take time to reply!


J xx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am also new to Nursery and starting in September having taken 8 years out to have a family! (Daunting!) But thanks so much to Clare for inspiring ideas re: themes and planning.

I'm going to have what I keep referring to as a "skeleton plan" then dip in and out of it as I get to know the children's preferences. Also, I don't feel I can plan a topic on "Festivals" but just focus on them as they arise throughout the year depending on the children's interests. Does that sound acceptable...?

KC x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is my first year of teaching Nursery (after many years in year one!). Once you start working with the children and observing them in their play, all the wise people on hear suddenly make so much sense. Never really understood child-initiated play and the thought of not having a detailed plan scared the life out of me - something to do with the govenrment spoon feeding us for far to long, I think! Absolutely love Nursery, love going with flow, love being spontaneous and love spending time supporting their play. Introducing new themes is important but the children always come up with such great ideas! I've had to send half term curriculum focus sheets home to the parents (things we do to please headteachers) and find that we rarely cover anything I've put on the sheet as the children have taken their learning on a different journey to my intentions - might have to rethink these for next year.


Enjoy Nursery - its the best place to be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)