Early Years - 2 to 4 years old

Our approach to 2 - 4 year olds.

At age 2, in First Steps, children might be joining us for the first time, or progressing from our Early Learners class. We help children gently adapt to a new routine and build strong bonds with teachers and friends. We love to see how quickly children settle in with us, and how they approach each day with genuine excitement. A day in First Steps is one of fun, exploration and energetic activity!

As they move into Rising Reception at age 3, children really start to develop their sense of self, becoming independent little people with opinions and questions that all help them to understand their place in the world and to absorb new skills and information like sponges! The play-based learning continues, adding in new experiences and layering over new opportunities to develop their language, to build relationships, to be imaginative and develop all the ‘what comes before’ skills they need for the next step into Reception.

A day in the life of 'First Steps and Rising Reception'

Time Activity
07:45 Early Bird Club – included within your fees, Early Birds welcomes children for time to play, colour and catch up with friends before the day starts.
08:30 Children move to classrooms
8:55 Registration
9:00-12:00 Play-based learning sessions, both in classrooms and outdoors
12.10 Lunch and Playtime
1:30 Registration and afternoon sessions of play-based learning begins
3:30 Day ends and after school clubs start
3:30 - 16.00 Late Club: included within your fees, all children are able to stay with us for Late Club, supervised by our qualified team
3:30 - 16.30 After school clubs
16:00 - 18:00 Extended Day
Wonderful school. Wonderful teachers and staff. An ideal environment for early learning and development.

– Little Downsend Parent

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)


In First Steps, we provide imaginative ways to work on numeracy and literacy skills. We stimulate your child’s curiosity and imagination and introduce fun games to work on their fine motor skills, such as using tweezers to collect gems and chopsticks to move spaghetti. During these early years, we work with your child to build their confidence to try anything and everything, we ask questions and create opportunities for children to explore, learn and find their voice.

In a playful environment, our children have endless ways of developing their skills without even knowing it is happening. We explore books and language together, we use blocks and loose parts play to understand number, shape, space, and time. Fine motor skills are boosted with creative crafts and physical coordination is always high on the agenda given Downsend’s sporting pedigree!

Our First Steppers are always challenged to test their ‘what comes before…..’ skills, so reading, writing, and numeracy come naturally when they take their next step. We are guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and our curriculum is built around the seven areas of learning development and is enriched by a structured and intentional approach to the development of specific skills.

Specialist teaching.

All Little Downsend children benefit from specialist teaching every week.

We welcome expert teachers in French, Dance, Music, Sport and Forest School to give our children dedicated time every week to explore languages, movement, creativity, and the outdoors.

Downsend School

Admissions: 01372 372311

General: 01372 372197