Child Centred Curriculum

Our curriculum at Cherry Garden is based on providing child-centred, individualised learning opportunities for all children through a play-based provision. We use the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework to inform and guide our delivery of the 6 areas of learning: Communication, Language and Literacy, Mathematical Development, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design. 

Before children can develop their knowledge and understanding of all six areas of learning, they work on our Explorer Curriculum consisting of communication development, physical development, cognitive development and personal, social and emotional development. This Explorer Curriculum is derived from the Welsh curriculum Routes for Learning which has a focus on early communication, interaction and the cognitive skills that are important for development and learning. 

The delivery of the curriculum is based around learning through play to engage children with active learning, exploration and becoming a critical thinker; with a thee-year topic cycle to ensure breadth and balance of learning. We base children’s individualised curriculum and goals around the outcomes in their EHCP to ensure that learning is relevant and personalised. 

Communication, Language and Literacy

One of our core objectives throughout the school is to provide children with a purposeful and effective means to communicate. If children are given the opportunity and a means to communicate, they can achieve! We work very closely with experienced Speech and Language Therapists who provide training to all of our staff, enabling our children to receive appropriate support and teaching strategies throughout their school day. 

We are also fortunate enough to have Makaton tutors on site. All staff are trained in Makaton and use this throughout the day and some teach this in communication groups. 

Our school library provides a rich learning environment full of a variety of different books to meet every reader’s interest and need. Reading is an essential, transferable life-skill and it is important that every pupil at Cherry Garden School is provided with the opportunity to learn to read at a level that is suitable, achievable and enriching for them. Strategies used to teach reading are tailored to each individual child’s need, and for those ready to use a structure phonics approach, we use ‘Read Write Inc’. Details of our reading provision can be found here.

Cognition/Mathematical Development

In mathematical development, we aim to teach our curriculum though a range of functional exploration skills. We include lots of problem solving in play and real life situations. The children at Cherry Garden enjoy taking part in Heuristic Play; this supports the development of motor skills, critical thinking and creativity using real life, natural objects.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

In PSED, our children are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities that promote self-confidence, wellbeing and being actively involved in the world around them. We have some relaxing yoga and meditation activities, which while being fun, allow children to feel peace, joy and fulfilment. We promote independence as much as possible through real life experiences such as cooking where the children have opportunities to develop their self-help and life skills. We have high-quality input from Occupational Therapists who support our children to access all of these self-help activities.

Physical Development

We have very individualised targets to support children with their physical development. We have regular input from physiotherapists who give training and advice on maintaining or increasing levels of balance and mobility, whilst providing specialist equipment where needed. 

Children at Cherry Garden also have the opportunity to go to weekly swimming sessions on-site. This is one of the most motivating ways we can ensure are children are moving and keeping healthy.

Understanding of the World

We aim to provide the children at Cherry Garden with lots of outdoor learning opportunities; we find that children can develop their curiosity about the world when they are motivated, engaged and actively learning. 

We have many long term links in our local community. Some of the children are taking part in boxing at the local club; we visit the library and have regular trips to the shop to practice buying healthy snack items for the class. 

Religious Education, people and communities, technology and the world are all covered through this curriculum area.

Expressive Arts and Design

We love being creative whenever we can and we promote this through our weekly music and dance sessions. The children love to take part in performances and show their skills to each other. Each year, our Artist in Residence comes and completes projects with us based around our topic. They support us to think creatively and complete larger scale artwork and movements. We have a designated art room, which we use for regular DT and woodwork sessions as well as creating immersive spaces for creative exploration. Southwark Playhouse also play a role in our creative development, they come to support the teachers and children to create magical performance projects which build our pupils’ confidence and imagination!


Another physical aspect to our curriculum is MOVE, through this programme we aim for all children, whatever their starting point, to gain some independent movement. The objective is for all children to have movement for functional purposes and to improve their engagement in the world around them. 

Curriculum Documents

School performance data can be found here.