About Us

'Coalway Early Years' has been part of Coalway and Broadwell community for many years and attracts families from Coalway, Broadwell, Coleford and the surrounding villages. We provide outstanding education and care for children aged from 2 years old to school age. We are open term time, 38 weeks of the year following term times, holidays and inset days in line with Coalway Infant and Junior Schools. 

Our spacious building has two base rooms which are both well equipped with plenty of room for varied and stimulating learning experiences. Our Pre-school Room (known as 'Penguins') is for children in their final year at playgroup before they move onto school, and our Starter Room (known as 'Squirrels')  is for our 2 years  old and younger 3 year old children.  Several times during the day, the children all come together as a larger group in our spacious garden area. This allows us to be able to meet the varied needs of the different age groups during focused time in the base rooms, whilst ensuring that the children benefit from coming together regularly as a whole community.

In our rooms, we provide a large, open plan environment with 'zoned' areas that focus on the various aspects of the curriculum, for example art, mark-making, and construction.  In addition we provide quieter, more enclosed spaces for cosy, reflective learning opportunities such as role-play, conversation and story telling.  Our large outdoor play area provides fun and challenging teaching and learning opportunities that include a "mud kitchen", large sand-pit, gardening area, outdoor creative arts area,  and "loose parts" to promote problem solving and construction on a larger scale.

In addition, we have our own Nature Area in the school grounds and are very lucky to also be able to access a wide range of other environments and experiences provided by the schools - this includes use of the school hall and field for P.E, a large 'trim-trail', and playground area for riding bikes.

We balance our daily routines between extended periods of child-led play to help the children develop their own ideas and interests, and adult led experiences that enable us to offer more focused teaching activities - these include 'Story-Making' sessions, small group activities and Circle Times (see 'Curriculum' below). 


Our aim is to provide stimulating, open-ended activities that promote social interaction, independent learning and critical thinking skills.  We are continuously evaluating and improving our learning environment to ensure we maintain outstanding teaching and learning so that every child attending is able to fulfil their potential.

For new starters we offer 'introductory' sessions.  These are two or three short, free sessions prior to your child's start date to enable them to have a 'taster' of what we offer and what it feels like to attend playgroup!  For these sessions we will require you to remain with them to help with confidence and settling, but will ask you to step out of the room for periods of time so that they can become used to being left. 

For children who require 'wrap around care' there is an on-site 'Kid's Club' who take children from the term after their third birthday.

All of our staff are qualified and experienced practitioners with relevant and current child protection and paediatric first aid training.

'Coalway Early Years' is a committee run, non-profit making charity. The committee are a group of volunteers and parents who hold regular, informal meetings to discuss the running of the group and fundraising events. New parents are invited to attend and become involved.  Parents and family members are welcome and encouraged to actively participate in the daily life of the playgroup, share skills and support fundraising activities


The playgroup is registered with Ofsted under the Children’s Act 1989 and inspected  every four to five years.  At our latest inspection on 9th May 2018, we received a grade of 'Outstanding' in all areas - please follow the link on our home page to read the full report.

The playgroup receives the ‘Free For 3 and 4’ funding for all our 3 and 4 year olds, 30 hours funding for eligible working parents, and Achieving Two Year Old funding for eligible two year olds.


We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS).  The focus of the EYFS is to encourage each child to develop their identity as a unique child, to form positive relationships, and to develop their skills in an enabling environment.  There are seven key learning areas broken down as the 'Prime Areas' and 'Specific Areas'.  The key learning intentions in each of these areas are as follows:

Prime Areas

Personal, social and emotional development - children learn to follow routines and rules, mange their behaviour and emotions, develop self-confidence and quality social interactions with their peers and the adults.

Communication and language - children develop effective communication skills through speech (including speech formation and vocabulary), and their ability to listen and understand.

Physical development - this includes developing a wide range of gross and fine motor skills, and also independence in their self-care (such as getting dressed, going to the toilet, washing their hands).  They are also taught about why it is important to take exercise, eat healthily and manage personal hygiene.

The prime areas underpin all of the activities that we do and we are constantly planning to develop and build these through the experiences we provide. 

Specific Areas

Literacy - children learn about the sounds in letters and words (please note that we do NOT teach phonics in playgroup but we do develop children's skills in using and distinguishing a range of sounds using 'pre-phonics'), children learn story-telling skills and develop mark-making and early writing skills.  A key tool we use in this area of learning is 'Story-Making' - this involves focusing on a simple text for a period of weeks and using a variety of techniques to help the children learn these stories 'by heart'.  This is hugely beneficial in helping to develop children's early reading and writing skills.

Mathematics- children learn number, counting and early problem solving skills focusing on numbers up to 10, and also skills linked to shape, space and measure.

Understanding the World - in this area we help children learn about the world around them relevant to their experiences.  This will include learning about key events in their life (birthdays, Mother's Day, religious festivals), learning about their local community and the people who are there to help them, and learning about features and changes in the natural world.

Expressive Arts and Design - children develop their creative and imaginative skills through art, craft, music, dance and imaginative play.

Children develop these specific skills from a firm foundation of the prime areas.  In addition the curriculum focuses on 'how' children learn through an aspect called the 'Characteristics of Effective Learning'.  This means that we provide the environment, resources and support that will enable children to explore through their play, become focused and engaged in their learning, have their own ideas and the skills they need to solve problems.


Our Ethos
At Coalway Early Years we aim to:

  • Provide outstanding care and education for all children in our community aged 2 years to school age regardless of background, culture or religion including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

  • Work in partnership with our families to help children to learn and develop to their full potential through exciting and stimulating activities and experiences.

  • Promote the  health and well being of all the children who attend our nursery through our policies and activities.


Typical Day

09:00 Welcome and registration

09:15 Indoor play session with many adult supported activities

10:00 Snack time

10:30 Outdoor or 'free-flow' play where the children choose from a wide range of activities within the outdoor and indoor environment providing many teaching and learning opportunities. During this time some children may work in small groups on focused activities with an adult

11:45 Tidy up time followed by whole group activity

12:00 Lunch - say goodbye to some of our friends and welcome new ones

13:00 'Story-Making' - children come together in small or large groups for our fun and educational sessions based on our current 'Story-Making' text

13:15 Outdoor or free-flow play as above.  

14:30 'Big' tidy-up time!

14:40 Children return to their base rooms for a drink and whole group activity such as song-time, a story or game

15:00 Home time - we sing our 'home time' song and say goodbye!

NB: The above is a guideline only - we will vary the routine and activities to suit the interests and needs of the children and special events.  We engage in outdoor play everyday, regardless of the weather, so please ensure your children come prepared!


Water & milk available in jugs

Variety of fruit &/or salad vegetables, and occasional savoury snacks offered daily

We also periodically make snacks with the children such as biscuits, bread rolls