Welcome to our Early Years Foundation Stage

We would like to welcome you to our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). We now welcome children from the term after they turn two years old.
At King Street Primary and Pre-School our children share the same newly developed calm, neutral and inviting learning environment. We have two large, separate classroom areas for our Pre-School (nursery) and Reception children to develop all areas of their learning and a shared outdoor space and Learning Garden. With qualified teachers and highly qualified Early Years practitioners within both of our classes, we provide a stimulating environment using high-quality adult interactions, experiences, and resources to enable all of our children to develop their potential (Cultural Capital).  
Our child-centred approach promotes the development of independence, creativity, individuality and self-confidence whilst delivering the highest standards of care and ensuring progression from every child's unique starting point. 
Our parents, children, school staff and Governors were consulted in helping to create a broad and ambitious curriculum which is unique to King Street Primary and Pre-School and gives children a sense of pride and belonging in Spennymoor as well as exploring the world beyond. Our progressive, carefully planned curriculum ensures that children know more and remember more and offers high quality experiences and opportunities for our children, ensuring that they are well-prepared for the next steps of their learning journey.   Our children become problem-solvers and readers.  
We offer a wide range of experiences which enable children to develop enquiring minds and to become successful learners within a safe, happy and stimulating environment, both indoors and out.  
We recognise that many young children prefer to learn outdoors and place great emphasis on our outdoor learning. The outdoors offers our children to experience the changing environment first hand whilst allowing the freedom to work on a larger scale, be messier and be louder!  Using the environment to support learning outdoors is one of our fundamental beliefs and is well recognised in helping develop strong, independent learners and thinkers. To support this belief, we have a fully qualified forest school instructor on site to ensure that children have the highest quality learning experiences both on the school site and beyond on our ‘into nature’ days.
Our intention is to provide the best Early Years education for every single child who we welcome into our setting, in partnership with parents, carers, Governors and the wider community. We ensure that every individual child enjoys education from their very first experiences with us and reaches their full potential.
We value the strong partnerships with our parents in ensuring that we meet the needs of our children.  We involve parents at all levels, recognising the huge benefits that a shared partnership brings to each child’s early life experience. 
All children in the EYFS are encouraged to support one another and help build on each other’s strengths. The cooperative learning is wonderful to see!
Please take a look on our Gallery Pages to see us in action!
At King Street Primary and Pre-School Early Years Foundation Stage Unit, we:
  • provide open-ended activities so that our children develop their imagination.
  • let our children touch nature so that they feel connected with their world.
  • point out creatures passing by so that our children learn to let things go.
  • allow our children to take risks so that they learn to assess danger for themselves.
  • let our children handle fragile things so that they learn to be gentle.
  • share amazing stories so that our children grow to love words and their meanings.
  • provide our children with challenges so that they develop persistence.
  • encourage movement and balance so that our children feel strong in their bodies.
  • allow our children to disagree because that is how they learn to work things out.
  • show our children that mistakes are ok because that is how we grow.
Miss Louise Whitfield

EYFS Lead/Reception Class Teacher


Hello and welcome to EYFS. My name is Louise Whitfield and I graduated over twenty years ago from the University of Sunderland with a BA(hons) in Primary Education. I recently gained my Forest School Leader qualification, so am looking forward to using my new skills with our children in the setting.
I have been working at King Street Primary and Pre-School for over ten years and have worked in lots of different year groups during my time here, but I love my current role and can't imagine being any where else!
I consider myself very lucky to work with all of the amazing children and families who enter our doors every day.
I live in Spennymoor with my little boy and we have a LOT of pets. I have four rescue cats, two guinea pigs, and three rescue hens!
I enjoy reading, going for long walks and singing.

Miss Kate Starkie

Early Years Practitioner/HLTA/Breakfast Club Manager

Hello, my name is Kate Starkie and I qualified around 15 years ago and started off my career by working in a private nursery. I have worked in King Street for a lot of years now and after working in many year groups. I joined the Early Years Unit when it first started five years ago and really enjoy working here.
I am manager of our award winning Breakfast Club. I love working with our children and seeing them grow. In my spare time, I like to spend time with my family, going shopping and having days out at the seaside.



My role at King Street EYFS Unit is to welcome the children. I am very nosey and like to get a good view of what is going on in our Early Years Unit. I love climbing up the bars of my cage and dream of becoming a famous gymnast. I sometimes get into trouble when I climb too high and fall back onto my shell but I am getting better at turning myself over. The other staff often call me, "Oh Nigel!"
As well as climbing, I enjoy warm baths, dandelions and sleeping! I am a Hermann Tortoise and I am now 7 years old.
Please visit my gallery page to find out more about me!

Miss Kathryn Brown

Nursery Class Teacher

My name is Kathryn Brown and this will be my sixth year working in Primary Schools and I love it, although I am still quite new to King Street. I am looking forward to getting to know all you little people and your families.
I have a little girl who is 5, we do lots of lovely things together like going to the park, going on adventures and we love to read lots of books, I can’t wait to share some of our favourites with you and find out what stories you like! We also love animals.
In my spare time I like to spend lots of time outdoors, I absolutely love the seaside and go as much as I can, I like walking and exploring new places and recently I have been enjoying gardening. I have planted all sorts of flowers and vegetables (fingers crossed they all grow). When I am out and about with my family, we love to have picnics and find new places to go for cake!

Mrs Helen McGonigal

Early Years Practitioner

Hi, my name is Helen McGonigal and I’m delighted to be working in EYFS.
I live in Evenwood with my husband and our three children, two girls and a boy. They’re 14, 11 and 8. We also have a cat called Minerva.
I enjoy running, reading, writing, cooking, baking and gardening (but not all at the same time!). I also like camping, walks in the woods and being by the sea with my family.
I write children’s fiction in my spare time. I also love reading children’s books and I’m looking forward to sharing lots of books with you in Early Years at King Street.
My other passion is looking after the planet we live on. We like to be as environmentally friendly as possible in our house and I share all our tips on my blog ‘Spot of Earth’.

Miss Gemma Bendalow

EYFS Practitioner

Hello, My name is Miss Bendelow. I’m looking forward to getting to know you and your family and to find out about your interests so we can have fun whilst extending on your learning.
So let me tell you more about me, I have worked in childcare for more than 14 years mainly in early years.
I live in Spennymoor with my partner, son and twin daughters. We like to spend our free time together going on walks around the local area, visiting places near or far, having picnics and going swimming.
When I was your age I was very unsure of school and never liked to leave my mam, so I understand that new places and challenges can make you feel nervous but me and the other staff will be there to help every step of the way. We will also take lots of photos and upload them to tapestry for your grown ups to see all the fun and exciting things we will get up to during your time with us.