close open in new window Early Years QM Cycle
The QM Cycle

Element 1

A whole-setting strategy and planning to improve young children’s abilities and achievements in their foundation skills

Early years providers must consider how best to develop and improve their setting to meet the highest standards and to offer the best experience for the young children in their care. They should aim to ensure a rich, personalised and challenging learning experience for all children, to give them the best possible start in life and to enhance their development.

A whole-setting strategy means the overall approach to be followed to achieve these intentions. Within this strategy, consideration should be given to the provision, acquisition and development of foundation skills in all areas of learning, including those of communication, language and mathematical development, through an emphasis on personal development, enjoyment, free play and movement. A balance of child-initiated and adult-led, play-based activity undertaken in both the indoor and outdoor environments will be seen as crucial in securing effective learning and development.

The strategy should also make clear that responsibility for encouraging, developing, supporting and extending foundation skills will lie with all practitioners and managers.

Planning will describe how different aspects of the strategy are to be carried out in practice. All planning should be based on a careful analysis of the setting’s current strengths and areas for development and of the children’s needs.


‘The staff team was able to work together to pinpoint where we could find evidence, and enjoyed using the criteria to review current procedures.’

Nursery manager, training and development centre nursery in Sandwell LA