Elmore Row, Walsall, West Midlands, WS3 2HR

01922 710 132



Sandbank Nursery School

A special place to play and learn

Principles in practice at Sandbank


We have been hugely inspired by the Reggio philosophy at Sandbank but recognise that we have our own history and culture. We use the Early Years Foundation stage document to set the standards for learning, development and care within the nursery and playcare. Planning balances children's enthusiasms and passions, with the skill, knowledge and attitudes which they need to aquire. The principles that underpin our practice can be summarised as follows:

      • An image of the child as a rich and competent learner

At Sandbank we offer children a challenging environment where they can take risks and test their capabilities.  Risks are carefully assessed and control measures are put into place.  We are an inclusive nursery and believe in the capability of all children to learn and make progress if we get the conditions right for them. 

      • The child as a citizen possessing rights

We believe that children have a right to participate in decisions that affect them.  Their opinions are sought through observation.  Their learning is planned to take their interests into account.  Practitioners plan experiences that offer possibilities for the children to develop in all areas using the standards in the Early Years Foundation stage document. They then observe children’s responses to enhance this learning.  Practitioners encourage children to respect the rights of others and talk through and resolve conflicts.

      • “100 Languages of children” and importance of creativity

Children’s individual learning styles are observed and planned for. There are opportunities to represent the world through different media and role-play situations. The learning environment is rich in sensory experiences and the use of natural materials. We work alongside a range of artists, who greatly enhance our children's time at sandbank.

      • The environment as the third teacher

The environment, both inside and outdoors, is planned so that children access resources for themselves and make decisions and take increasing responsibility. There are resources to give opportunity for children to make good progress in all areas of their development.  It is maintained to a very high standard with use of
natural materials and sensory experiences.  Open ended materials are provided in the environment to encourage children to use their imagination in diverse spaces.

      • The child as a theorist

Children are given lots of opportunities for first hand experiences and are supported by interested adults to make discoveries about the world, how things work and cause and effect.  Practitioners are skilled in questioning children about their discoveries and offer provocations to prompt children to ask their own questions.

      • Children and teachers as co-learners and co-researchers

We believe that learning is a social process and recognise the importance of relationships.  Friends are able to work together in pairs and groups. They are able to work with different members of staff and visitors.  Children and practitioners work together in a genuine spirit of shared enquiry for example howto use new tools such as the new white board.  Practitioners see themselves as learners and are learning about learning all the time.   

All practitioners have an opportunity to work with visiting artists.  All practitioners have had the opportunity to share practice with visitors from other settings.

      • Parents as co-educators

Children are seen as connected to their families and communities. The relationship of children with their parent is valued.  Parents are actively encouraged to talk with practitioners about their children’s learning, interests and fascinations. Activities to promote good parent/child relationships such as “Stay
and Play” and open days are key to the way in which we work at Sandbank. Children frequently make visits into the local community and further afield .

      • The importance of documentation

Observation is the key to the way we plan for learning at Sandbank. 
Practitioners document children’s group learning and projects as well as their individual learning.  This is displayed on the walls to share with parents and visitors.  Individual learning journeys are kept for each child.  This is a portfolio of photographs observations and graphic representations.  Children are able to revisit their learning through reading these and sharing them with practitioners, friends and parents.  Practitioners reflect on this documentation to plan possibilities for children’s future learning.

“When a child is born a citizen is born"

Loris Malaguzzi




The Reggio philosophy

The work of the pre-schools is  underpinned by a well-articulated  philosophy.  It is a philosophy that has  evolved and continues to evolve over  time.  Loris Malaguzzi was influenced by  the educational theories of Maria  Montessori, Jean Piaget and Lev  Vygotsky. More recently, the Reggio  philosophy has been influenced by joint  collaboration with Jerome Brunner and  Howard Gardner.  Central to the  philosophy is an image of the child as a  rich and competent learner.  The rights of  children are promoted; Loris Malaguzzi  said “when a child is born a citizen is  born”.  Children are viewed as theorists  who need to test out their theories and  teachers are seen as co-learners and  co-researchers who “stand beside the  child”.  Loris Malaguzzi believed that the  child has “100 Languages” and that the  role of the adult is to observe and listen  carefully.  Children are presented with  different media to explore their ideas and  represent the world.  Children are seen as  connected to their families and  community.  An essential element of the  Reggio philosophy is the use of   documentation of children’s learning.  Children’s thoughts and ideas are made  visible and preserved through notes,  written observations and photographs so  that practitioners can share and discuss  possibilities for development.


“It’s a mistake to take any approach and  assume that like a flower you can take it  from one soil and plant it in another”
“We have to figure out what aspect of  that flower is most important to us and  what kind of soil we need to make it  grow”
 Howard Gardener


The philosophy
  of the Reggio  Pre-schools Democratic organisation

  • Based on the concept of the rich, competent child
  • .Children have special rights not special needs.
  • The child is seen as a theorist and researcher.
  • The environment is seen as a third teacher.
  • Children are trusted.
  • Hundred languages of childhood recognised.
  • Visible listening and documentation.
  • Parents are seen as
  • Co-educators.
  • Teachers are seen as learners.