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Pinxton Nursery School

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Expressive Arts and Design


Expressive Arts conveys both thinking (ideas) and feeling (emotions). Children use a variety of ways to express and communicate which can be done through music, movement and using a wide range of materials. Expressive Arts and Design fosters imagination, curiosity, creativity, cognition, critical thinking and experimentation.

We intend our children to be able to express themselves through actions and sounds. At Pinxton Nursery School we intend our children to have individual experiences which will inspire a life time of creativity and imagination, providing children with confidence and resilience which will impact all areas of learning. 



At Pinxton Nursery School we provide opportunities for all children through continuous provision and planned activities both inside and outdoors, providing opportunities for children to improvise, collaborate, interact and engaged in shared thinking activities. We provide time, space and opportunities to revisit and reflect on experiences. Expressive Arts and design is developed through multi-sensory, first hand experiences, where children can connect and enquire about the world. Through our curriculum and provision, children will have experience of colour, form, texture and sound, making connections with previous experiences and building upon their skills knowledge.

In the birth to 5 matters Expressive Art is split into two aspects Exploring and using media and materials and Being imaginative.


Exploring and Using Media and Materials

This is about how children experiment with media and materials, finding out about their properties and modifying and manipulating them. It includes exploring sounds, patterns, movement and different tools and techniques


Being Imaginative

This is about children’s explorations into the world of pretence, building on their experiences of the real world and transforming them into something new – whether through role play, music, pretend play, block play or small world or any other area of learning.





Children leave nursery with attitudes of curiosity and questioning as well as skills and techniques. Children have the skills to create and invent, illustrating confidence in their own ideas and having the ability to take risks. Children have a good understanding of other people, themselves and are able to enter their own imaginary world.


Areas of Expressive Arts and Design

Creating with materials



When children enter our nursery they are able to:-


When they leave our nursery they are able to:-


  • Explore and experiment with an increasing range of media and movement through multisensory exploration and expression

Moves while singing/ vocalising, whilst listening to sounds and music, while playing with sound makers/instruments

  • Mirrors and improvises actions they have observed e.g. Clapping or waving
  • Sings/vocalises whilst listening to music or playing with instruments / sound makers
  • Notices and becomes interested in transformative effect on their actions on materials and resources
  • Explore and learn how sounds and movements can be changed
  • Continue to explore moving in a range of ways e.g. Mirroring, creating own movement patterns
  • Enjoys joining in with moving, dancing and ring games
  • Sings familiar songs e.g. pop songs, songs from tv. Programmes, rhymes, songs from home
  • Tap out simple repeated rhythms
  • Develops and understands how to create and use sounds intentionally
  • Continues to explore colour and how colour can be changed
  • Develops an understanding of using lines to enclose a space and begins to use drawing to represent actions and objects based on imagination, observation and experience.
  • Uses various construction materials e.g. joining pieces, stacking vertically and horizontally, balancing. Making enclosures and creating spaces.
  • Uses tools for a purpose.


Being Imaginative and expressive

When children enter our nursery they are able to:-


When they leave our nursery they are able to:-


  • Expresses self through physical actions and sounds
  • Pretends that an object represents another, especially when objects have characteristics in common
  • Creates sound effects and movements e.g.  creates the sound of a car, animal


  • Uses movement and sounds to express experiences, expertise, ideas and feelings
  • Experiments and creates movements in response to music, stories and ideas
  • Sings to self and makes up simple songs
  • Creates sounds, movements, drawings to accompany stories
  • Notices what other children and adults do, mirroring what is observed, adding variations and then doing it spontaneously
  • Engages in imaginative play based on own ideas and first hand or peers experiences
  • Uses available resources to create props or creates imaginary ones to support play
  • Play alongside other children who are engaged in the same theme.




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