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St Mary's Primary & Nursery School, Bellaghy, Magherafelt

Curriculum Overview

Full Potential
Our aim at St Mary’s is to provide a stable environment in which your child will reach their full potential in all aspects of their development and growth. While it is an informal way of learning for your child, they will be acquiring all the early language, reading, number and scientific skills which they will need as they move on to the primary school.

Stimulating Curiosity
Through play, we will be helping them learn how to learn and develop good attitudes towards school. We will be providing activities to stimulate their curiosity and promote a wider use of language. We are very lucky to benefit from access to a safe purpose built outdoor area to provide enriched learning experiences.

Stable Relationships

We will be helping them to form good stable relationships, encouraging a sense of responsibility, consideration for others, self-confidence, independence and self-control.


We will be helping them to use their bodies more effectively by providing space and activities for work and play and we will be encouraging good personal hygiene and manners.


The Pre-School Curriculum is underpinned by 6 areas of learning, as set out in the guidance document issued by the Department of Education. At St Mary’s Nursery Unit, the Pre-School curriculum is given equal balance both indoors and outdoors, with the children accessing outdoor play every day, whatever the weather and in all seasons.

Language Development

This area provides an opportunity to help develop a love of books and an enthusiasm to start writing! We have a well-resourced reading area and mark making is promoted across all play areas, which provides lots of opportunities to develop fine motor control, emergent writing and letter formation. We also make regular trips to St Mary’s Primary School library which is onsite and provide lots of opportunities for the children to interact with their peers in the primary school.

Early Mathematical Experiences

This area of learning involves counting, sorting, matching, seeking patterns, making connections, recognising relationships and working with numbers, shapes, space and measures. We use a wide variety of resources to help promote developing mathematical skills and knowledge.

The Arts

This area of learning includes art, music, dance, role play and imaginative play. We have painting easels indoors and role-play takes place both indoors and outdoors, changing with each topic to reflect our learning themes.

The World Around Us

In this area of learning, children are developing the crucial knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world. Pupils have the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of play activities both indoors and outdoors. The activities on offer are child led and provide a range of diverse experiences.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

This area of learning is about emotional well-being. We aim to develop pupils’ understanding of who they are and where they fit in, their independence and the importance of showing empathy for others. Pupils benefit from the opportunity to participate in songs, story time and Circle time.

Physical Development and Movement

Physical development is about improving skills of co-ordination, control, manipulation, and movement. Pupils take part in weekly music and movement sessions indoors and have the opportunity to develop their physical skills using our outdoor equipment during daily outdoor play sessions. The children take part in PE sessions within the PE hall at St Mary’s Primary School.