The aim of the Project READ website is to support collaboration between schools in our joint endeavour to improve reading outcomes for Derbyshire pupils. A huge 'Thank you!' to all who have contributed case studies. Use the case studies as a starting point to reflect on practice in your school with colleagues. Explore the 'Useful Links' tab for research, resources and continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities. The password to view the video clips is projectread

Alfreton Nursery - encouraging talk outdoors

About our school

We are a nursery school in Alfreton. We consistently achieve outstanding through our OFSTED inspections and are now a Teaching School, supporting and developing School Direct students and sharing outstanding practice with the schools that have chosen to join our teaching alliance.  We have an outstanding reputation for outdoor education and we are leaders in our field for a whole variety of initiatives, including AMA, Emotional Well Being and our creative approach to education.  

We are led by an inspiring Head teacher, who is highly regarded in the county and strives extremely hard to make our school consistently outstanding, and who motivates and develops a very dedicated and enthusiastic team of professionals.  


We provide an exciting learning environment outdoors which encourages the children to explore, chat, problem-solve, challenge themselves, investigate and play. In filming these clips, our aim was to capture some of the strategies we use as adults to support the development of communication skills.


The filming took place during one afternoon session in February 2019.


1. Phonemic cues Phonemic cues (adult giving the first phoneme of the word and then waiting) are typically used to help children find a specific target word quickly and accurately.  This can be especially useful for children who confuse words that are similar in meaning.  Laura uses this technique to support a child’s communication and language within an exploratory environment.

2. Conversation Laura helps Oscar investigate a shared interest and spark a conversation.

3. Visual support Laura demonstrates to Oscar how using the picture support resources can help him to understand as well as initiate expressive language.

4. Comments and questions for verbal reasoning Balancing comments and questions to elicit the best interactions and learning is always a challenge.  Laura uses questions, comments and instructions to help the children develop verbal reasoning skills during ‘Forest Schools’.

5. Simple instructions Laura uses short sentences and simple instructions to help children concentrate on acquiring new skills whilst maintaining language input.

6. Language, vocabulary and song Opportunities for sharing an interest and finding a reason to communicate can be created through exploration, discussion and song as demonstrated by Laura in this clip.  


Through understanding each child's unique learning journey and the way they use their language skills within that, I am able to judge their next steps and interventions for individual children's language development.  Children's language is enhanced by a personalised approach, so continuous assessments and individual interventions  can lead to successful language enhancement.  

Next steps

To continue to provide high quality and stimulating learning environments with highly skilled and knowledgeable practitioners, to scaffold language, through motivated and meaningful interactions.  


Laura Dolby, Nursery Teacher, Forest School Leader, Specialist Leader of Education in the EYFS, Alfreton Nursery School

01773 520031

Additional information

You are always welcome to visit and share in this wonderful experience.  Forest Schools happens every Tuesday throughout the year and we have 2 amazing woodlands on site that we have developed from fields.  It really is inspiring and a brilliant example of what can be achieved in the outdoors through dedication and teamwork and a passion for the importance of outdoor learning.  Laura Dolby.

1. Phonemic cues. Password for all clips: projectread
2. Conversation
3. Visual support
4. Comments and questions for verbal reasoning
5. Simple instructions
6. Language, vocabulary and song
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