Expressive Arts and Design Policy


This policy is a statement of the aims, principals and strategies for learning and teaching within the area of Expressive Arts and Design.

“Creativity is fundamental to successful learning.  Being creative enables children to make connections between one area of learning and another”

(Curriculum Guidance for the foundation stage. QCA 2000)


What is Expressive Arts and Design in the Foundation Stage?

“Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.”   EYFS 2014

In the Revised EYFS 2012 Expressive Arts and Design is one of the four specific areas of learning in the EYFS framework.

Supporting young children to explore and use media and materials

Expressive Arts and Design covers the area of learning and development which was called ‘Creative

Development’ in the original EYFS framework, along with ‘Designing and Making’ which was previously found in‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World.’

Exploring and using media and materials covers previous aspects of ‘Being Creative – Responding to

Experiences, Expressing and Communicating Ideas’, ‘Exploring Media and Materials and Creating Music and

Dance’, and ‘Designing and Making’.

Children’s learning and development in this area will be enhanced as they sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with different ways of doing these activities. As they develop they will use and explore a variety of materials, experimenting with colour, design, texture, shape, and form.


Early Learning Goal for Exploring and Using Media and Materials

‘Children sing songs, make music and dance and experiment with ways of changing them. They use and explore a variety of materials, experimenting with colour, design, texture, shape and form.’


Supporting young children to be imaginative

Being imaginative covers previous aspects of ‘Being Creative – Responding to Experiences, Expressing and

Communicating Ideas’, ‘Developing Imagination and Imaginative Play’, and ‘Designing and Making’.


Being Imaginative focuses on how children use what they have learned about media and materials in purposeful and original ways. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through art and design, music, dance, role play, and stories. Practitioners should provide a stimulating environment in which creativity, originality, and expressiveness are valued.


Early Learning Goal for Being Imaginative

Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in purposeful and original ways, thinking about users and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories.’


The Revised EYFS states

“Children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments”.

Each child is unique

Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured”.   EYFS 2012

  • We value each child as an individual, accepting their individual needs and rates of development
  • We recognise each child as a competent learner
  • We accept and recognise each child’s ability, disability, gender, race, and cultural background, so enabling them to enjoy equality of opportunity and support to reach their full potential.
  • We recognise children’s responses to what they see, hear and experience through their senses are individual, and the way they represent their experiences is unique and valuable.
  • We aim to support children in recognising that their views count and that their opinion is valued, eg in following children’s interests and ideas in this area.


The Importance of Positive Relationships

“Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.” EYFS 2012

  • We aim to ensure children feel secure enough to ‘have a go’, learn new things and be adventurous.
  • We value what children can do and children’s own ideas rather than expecting them to reproduce someone else’s picture, dance or model, for example.
  • We give opportunities for children to work alongside artists and other creative adults so that they see at first hand different ways of expressing and communicating ideas and different responses to media and materials.
  • We recognise children’s specific religious or cultural beliefs relating to particular forms of art or methods of representation.
  • We aim to support children to work together and begin to take account of ideas and preferences which differ from their own.


The provision of an Enabling Environment

“Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.” EYFS 2012

  • We aim to provide a stimulating environment in which creativity, originality and expressiveness are valued.
  • We aim to create an environment where it is “safe” to make mistakes, to share thoughts and ideas, explore different options, and work collaboratively.
  • We aim to include resources from a variety of cultures to stimulate new ideas and different ways of thinking.
  • We aim to offer opportunities for children, especially those with specific physical needs, to access and have physical contact with artefacts, materials, spaces and movements.
  • We aim to provide opportunities for children, especially those with specific physical needs, to experience sound through physical contact with instruments and other sources of sound.
  • We aim to encourage children who cannot communicate by voice to respond to music in different ways, such as gestures.


“Young children should have the opportunity to listen to a wide range of recorded and live music.  They should be encouraged to talk about their own and other’s music making, and respond physically through movement or other forms of expression”                        (Firm Footings)


Learning and Teaching within Expressive Arts and Design



At Hadfield Nursery School the children:

  • are given time, space and opportunity to explore a stimulating environment that encourages and inspires the children’s creative responses throughout the expressive arts
  • have the opportunity to develop their creative responses in a way that inspires them, motivates and challenges them to be creative on a small and large scale.
  • will be provided with creative learning opportunities that will be developed and extended through first hand experiences that are open ended, and allow the children to use individualism and freedom of expression
  • have opportunities to develop an enthusiasm and enjoyment for music in all its forms
  • have opportunities to develop their musical expression, both indoors and outdoors, through a wide range of activities that are constantly available to them to encourage individual exploration and nurture self-confidence.
  • are provided with lots of opportunities to independently engage in role play and imaginative play.
  • are acknowledged to develop at different rates, in their own ways, in their preferred style.
  • are respected and encouraged at all times and their creative expressions celebrated and praised, thereby promoting self-esteem and a desire to keep trying.



At Hadfield Nursery School Practioners;


  • aim to create a stimulating environment that encourages and inspires the children’s creative responses throughout the expressive arts
  • plan to ensure that the children have quality creative opportunities throughout the expressive arts within the indoor and outdoor environments.
  • develop and extend creative learning opportunities through first hand experiences that are open ended and allow the children to use individualism and freedom of expression
  • use their in depth awareness of the children, their levels of ability, knowledge, confidence and skill, to differentiate our expressive arts experiences to meet each individual child ensuring that they all have arts experiences that allow for success, and that celebrate their creative expression.
  • Observe and listen to children to better understand their interests and provide opportunities/resources for child-initiated learning.
  • extend the children’s experiences through continuous evaluation, and adaptation through flexibility within the planning, that allows us to build on their personal experiences and feed into new experiences that extend their creative explorations
  • provide positive role modelling that supports and enhances children’s skills. These aim to develop various techniques and knowledge, nurture their confidence, extend their vocabulary and create an enthusiasm for creativity, whilst always maintaining high quality learning opportunities through varied creative experiences.
  • provide appropriate support/resources for children with additional mobility or learning needs.


Planning for Expressive Arts and Design


Planning at Hadfield Nursery School is devised in line with the EYFS Statutory Framework and Guidance (“Development Matters” 2012) and from observation and assessment of children’s needs. It takes into account:


  • The nursery’s two year rolling programme
  • Assessment/levels and stages of development
  • Records (including the nursery profile)
  • I.S.P.’s where necessary
  • Observations
  • Targeting specific children, including gifted and talented children
  • Individual learning styles
  • Children’s interests
  • Continuous monitoring


Effective planning includes:

  • Exploring media and materials – drawing, painting, collage, print making, sculpture, textile work, and IT graphics software packages.
  • Music – singing, exploring and naming musical instruments, responding to sounds with body movements, beginning to understand musical concepts, and listening to music.
  • Imagination – pretending, representing, role play, and imaginative play.
  • Responding to experiences, expressing and communicating ideas – freedom of expression in a variety of ways.


Observation, Assessment, Monitoring and Record-Keeping

Children’s skills and stages of development are observed and monitored by key-workers and the whole teaching team.  Observations may be long or short and supported by evidence such as annotated photographs (using “2Build-a-profile” software) or pieces of work when possible.  These observations also include Levels of Well-being and Involvement (Laevers).


Records of individual children’s progress and achievement are kept electronically as part of each child’s “Markbook” on Classroom Monitor. These observations and records inform planning, identify specific targets for each child, may identify a learning difficulty or talent, and provide the school with the means to monitor cohort progress and collect data on the effectiveness of the provision.


Data collected each half-term will identify children requiring additional support or challenging in this specific area of learning (see Medium Term Planning).


Children’s progress in Expressive Arts and Design is shared with parents/carers during the child’s Curriculum Consultation during their third term at Nursery.  This enables two-way sharing of information and the planning of “next steps”.


Supporting  All our Children’s Needs

  • Provision will be made to meet the individual requirements of children with any additional needs, to enable them to make progress in Expressive Arts and Design and achieve their full potential, eg through specific targets as part of an Individual Support Plan.
  • Staff will liaise and work closely with other professionals involved with the child and respond to the advice they offer.
  • Where necessary, resources and equipment to support children with additional needs will be procured from other agencies.

Equal Opportunities

At Hadfield Nursery School we aim to offer children and their families a safe environment, free from harassment and discrimination, in which children’s contributions are valued and where racial and religious beliefs are respected.  We aim to challenge discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, ability, or culture.

All children will be treated as individuals and they will have full access to all elements of Expressive Arts and Design provision and opportunities, regardless of race, gender, ability, or culture.  Our enabling environment will take into account children’s different interests, understandings, home backgrounds and cultures.


Health & Safety – Managing Risk

The health and safety of the children will be paramount, and as with all areas of learning, we aim to ensure that the work and activities carried out by the school do not adversely affect the health and safety of other people.


The Role of the Subject- Co-ordinator

The Subject Co-ordinator is responsible for

  • the writing and reviewing of the Policy for Expressive Arts and Design
  • the development and auditing of this area of learning
  • ensuring that all children receive their entitlement to all the elements of this area of learning
  • identifying and meeting the needs of those children who show a particular talent in this area
  • Identifying and meeting the needs of children with special educational needs or disability
  • monitoring and evaluating the quality of teaching and learning in this area and the children’s progress towards ELG’s
  • monitoring, maintaining and ordering resources
  • supporting colleagues in their understanding and delivery of this area of learning
  • identifying and attending relevant courses to promote continued professional development (CPD) and to feed-back to the Head-teacher and staff.
  • liaising with artists working in the school
  • ensuring equality of opportunity and access to all aspects of Expressive Arts and Design
  • liaising with the Governor with curriculum responsibility for Expressive Arts and Design in order to support their monitoring.


Linked Documentation

This policy should be read in conjunction with the following policies:

  • Policy for Equalities, Differences and Cohesion
  • Behaviour, Discipline and Anti-Bullying Policy
  • Policy for Teaching and Learning
  • Assessment and Recording Policy
  • Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) Policy (incorporating Modern British Values)
  • Health and Safety Policy
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