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Queenswell Infant & Nursery School

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Expressive Arts and Design

Expressive Arts and Design


At Queenswell we support children to develop their imagination and creativity. It is important that children have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. At Queenswell we encourage children to access resources in the classroom and outdoor learning area independently in order to express themselves freely and through their own preferred method. The quality of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts. The frequency, repetition and depth of their experiences are fundamental to their progress in interpreting and appreciating what they hear, respond to and observe.



We provide an artistically rich environment. This includes:

  • High quality continuous provision including workshop area, creative art area, malleable area, role play area and music area which children are encouraged to use independently to explore and experiment as well as with adult modelling and demonstration of key skills (e.g. tools and techniques).
  • Reading to children and engaging them actively in stories, rhymes and poems – using and making props to support story telling
  • Artist studies e.g. Andy Goldsworthy
  • Listening to a range of music from around the world
  • Role plays to reflect the cultural diversity and real-life experiences of children in the class.
  • To introduce – DT workshop in reception

Pre-School                                        →

Nursery                                            →


Creating with materials
  • Encourage children to make marks with a range of materials

e.g. fingers in cornflour, sticks in mud, hands and feet in paint, on tablets,

  • Talk with children about the meanings of the marks they make.
  • Encourage children to draw from their imagination and observation.
  • Help children to add detail by pointing out key features and discussing them.
  • Encourage children to notice features in natural world
  • Help them to define colours, shapes, texture and smells


  • Explore natural materials and experiment with transient art
  • Explore and learn about artists in particular those that use natural materials such as Any Goldsworthy.
  • Introduce colour names and match to objects
  • Explore the differences between colours – colour mixing
  • Teach children to develop their colour mixing techniques to enable them to match the colours they see and want to replicate.
  • Use senses to explore materials – make simple models with a range of textures e.g. clay, soft wood, card, fabrics, cardboard etc
  • Offer opportunities to explore scale – long strips of wall paper, large boxes
  • Help children to develop their drawing and model making by encouraging them to have their own ideas. Spend sustained time alongside them during this process.
  • Create collaboratively, sharing ideas, resources and skills
  • Provide a range of materials to construct with
  • Explore treasure baskets  grouped by colour, texture, sound etc
  • Join different materials (skills and techniques) and explore different textures
  • Provide a range of resources that children can access freely e.g. glue, masking tape, cardboard boxes, hammers and nails, fabrics
  • Teach children different techniques for joining and how to choose when best to use different options. E.g. tape or glue
  • Provide opportunities to evaluate creations and think about how it could be made even better.
Being imaginative and expressive
  • Provide a range of different types of singing, sounds and music from diverse cultures.
  • Play and preform music with different dynamics (loud/quiet), tempo, pitch and rhythms.
  • Play, share and perform a wide variety of music and songs from different cultures.
  • Help children to develop listening skills through active listening e.g. painting to music or moving in response to sounds.
  • Clap or tap to the pulse of songs or music
  • Introduce traditional and folk music from around the world including Britain.
  • Explore a range of percussion instruments
  • Introduce children to a broad selection of action songs from different cultures and languages.
  • Sing songs regularly so children learn songs and actions off by heart e.g. twinkle, twinkle, little star
  • Remember and sing entire songs and nursery rhymes


  • Sing call and response songs so children can echo phrases of songs you sing.
  • Encourage children to replicate choreographed dances e.g. just dance
  • Provide opportunities for choice of expression and freedom when performing music and dance.
  • Introduce children to songs to go with routines e.g. “this is the way we wash our hands…”
  • Provide children with instruments and ‘found objects’ e.g. tapping a bottle or running a twig along a fence.
  • Create own songs
  • Play sound matching games (link to phonics phase 1)
  • Encourage children to experiment with different ways of playing instruments.
  • Encourage children to keep a steady beat
  • Play movement and listening games
  • Adults to encourage pretend play by modelling narrative and joining in role play.
  • Provide small world for children to access freely e.g. animal sets, dolls and dolls houses to encourage children to develop complex stories.
  • Provide lots of flexible and open-ended resources for children’s imaginative play
  • Help children to negotiate roles in their play and sort out conflicts.
  • Encourage children who are not joining in with imaginative play.
  • Provide a wide range of props to encourage imagination.
  • Support children to decide which role they may want to play (deconstructed roleplay)


Early Learning Goals: *(only to be used as assessment point at end of reception year

Creating with Materials: Safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function. Share their creations, explaining the process they have used. Make props and materials when role playing characters in narratives and stories.

Being imaginative and expressive: invent, adapt and recount narratives and stories with peers and their teacher. Sing a range of well-known nursery rhymes and songs. Perform songs, rhymes, poems and stories with others, and – when appropriate – try to move in time with the music.


Curricular goals:

Pre-school: Children have learnt that they can find their own ways of being creative through movement and sensory experiences. They recognise that different objects can be used to make marks and have begun to do this with intention some of the time. They are happy to explore a range of textures, sounds, and colour and begin to show some preferences. Children use role-play which reflects their own personal experiences and sometimes engage in this play alongside other children.

Nursery: Children feel confident to explore a range of creative activities and open - ended props and resources (including those that they have found themselves in the natural environment). They use resources in their own way to represent their ideas, thoughts and feelings. Children are original in their interpretations of open-ended resources and sometime reflect their understanding of their real-life experiences. Children use developing skills to achieve a desired outcome.

Reception: Children are confident to take part in singing and movement activities and join in with a range of traditional rhymes, songs and dances. Children use their increasing communication and language skills to collaborate with others during pretend play, representing a range of real-life experiences and acting out familiar stories. They use props and open-ended materials to support their imaginative play in creative ways. Children use a range of skills with confidence to achieve a desired outcome, with some level of reflection and evaluation of what they have done.


Moving on to KS1 – Links to National Curriculum: Art, DT, Music

By the end of EYFS children should know and sometimes use vocabulary such as:



Pencil, pen, crayon

Painting and collage

Cut, scissors, glue, stick, light, dark


Cut, stick, glue, model, join, bend, tape,


Andy Goldsworthy, nature, pattern



Cut, stick, glue, model, join, bend, tape


Change, better



Music, sounds, listen, instrument