As the children approach the term of their third birthday, in discussion with parents and staff, children will start a transition period from the Ducklings/ Ladybirds Room into our pre-school room or ‘main’ room; Caterpillars / Butterflies

In the pre-school room there is a wider focus on specific areas of learning – Literacy, Maths, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design as well as continuing development in the prime areas.

Your child will have a designated key person to ensure security, reassurance and continuity of care. Your child’s key person will be spending time with your child and yourselves to develop a strong and positive relationship. Your key person will be able to offer any additional support to enable your child to experience an enriching environment and to settle into the routines of Tom Thumb.  They will also ensure that there are opportunities to learn and play with things that interest your child.

As your child’s first educator, we believe that you know your child best and we will give you opportunities to contribute to assessment by sharing information about what your child likes to do at home. We follow an in the moment form of teaching as opposed to formal topic planning. Each child has a focus week every 6-8 weeks and a sheet is sent home asking for current likes and interests and any events or recent experiences at home. This helps us to set out invitations to play to promote learning at your child’s pace.

The Timetable

When children arrive, they have ‘free-play’ time. There are always a variety of toys and activities on offer, such as sand, water, mark making, reading corner, puzzles and sensory trays with things like rice, pasta, foam, jelly, oats etc. There will also be construction equipment such as Duplo, train sets etc, small play toys such as farmyard, dinosaurs etc, electronic toys and equipment and other activities which encourage social skills, hand-eye coordination and concentration skills. Natural materials and loose parts, logs, cardboard, boxes and other materials for children to create and build

The children also enjoy singing, dancing, story time, number rhymes, instruments etc. We have an outside area with bikes, bats and balls, climbing frame, mud kitchen and music making area. We go on walks to the park and around the village; we will ask for your consent on the registration form and always have the appropriate ratios when out and about in the village. It is an integral part of our learning to access the wider community so children have a sense of community, belonging and for them to make links with their own experiences outside nursery.

Children are encouraged to join in with all activities on offer but are not forced to. We hope that they are exciting, challenging and age appropriate enough to create wonder and excitement. This is how children learn as opposed to being told to sit and do an activity that they may not be interested in. Some children are naturally curious and will join in with everything others are a little more reserved and need encouragement. Every child will be treated as a unique individual.

In the main room we have Welly Wednesday’s this is a fun morning of outdoor learning and can include going on nature walks, listening walks, playing with wonderful things found in the environment from pumpkin carving, collecting conkers, flowers and sticks. The natural world creates so many learning opportunities and children love it!

We have outside visitors such as French / Spanish teachers, Burton Albion Football, magicians, animal experiences, fire fighters, paramedics, local farmers, nurses and member of the WI to enhance your child’s experience. We also sometimes take part in activities for under 5s in the village like Active Totz and stay and play at Church House.

The children follow a more structured day with activities from the Letters and Sounds curriculum which is continued in reception class when they start school. A lot of work and care goes into ensuring that the children are prepared for the next step of starting school. We have excellent links with local first schools and lots of transition activities take place throughout the pre-school year and we aim to work closely with you as parents during this important time.

During the their last year with us there is a big emphasis on independence and trying to get them ‘ready for school’ this does not always mean ‘academically’ ready but ensuring children are confident in self care, putting coats and shoes on independently, pouring drinks, asking for help, self selecting items with confidence etc

We are always available at Tom Thumb and welcome you to call or message during the day to check on how your child is, giving you peace of mind to relax while they are in our care.

Funded Places

The term after your child is three, they will receive up to 15 funded hours or 30 funded hours depending on your circumstances. Please see our ‘Funding Information’ page for more information.

Examples of our Art Work and Creations


Each term the Butterflies and Caterpillars hold their own small meetings about how they want their learning to evolve.

Sample questions from our meetings are as follows:

  • What they would like to learn? – special topics

  • What they like doing at nursery?

  • What they don’t like doing?

  • What new skills they would like to learn?

  • What they like doing in the community?

  • If they had £100 what would they spend it on for nursery?

  • What they would like to do to celebrate a special event?, e’g queens jubilee, end of year leavers party etc

We think its really important to give children a voice and be part of their own learning journey


We have had some very interesting and ambitious answers over the years. We always try our best to incorporate all of the children’s answers into our learning. A sample of some of answers from Summer 2022 are below:

  • Arthur would like more sand and maybe a beach to play on. A new baby, a cot and some more trains.

  • Thorley would like everyone in nursery to go to Alton Towers
  • Ivy would like a bigger climbing frame, new babies and a better pushchair. She has loved all the learning we’ve been doing on animals and loves to listen to Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures
  • Leo would like a trip to Wales and the best bit about being in nursery is playing with Frank.
  • Ruby just likes everything and being with her friends, going to the park and walking
  • Max would like a lot more hippo’s to play with and some shark cars and wants sausage and chips.

  • Wilf needs like a monster truck but with a remote control

  • Teddy wants all of the money to spend on a paddling pool and flowers to plant

  • Eddie needs some new wood, with real nails, hammers and a screwdriver and a zoo

  • Casey wants more balls

  • Hunter would like £100.00 to buy all the wild animals

  • Lucas wants a new brachiosaurus as the old one broke and a visit to the zoo

  • Annabella and Larissa want a new kitchen

  • Charlie wants a new basketball hoop

  • Harry needs everything for woodwork like real life screws.

  • Poppy wants a new kitchen and new trains

  • Ellis wants more sausage and mash

Photos of Caterpillars & Butterflies.