'Children enjoy their learning and make good progress. Staff skilfully engage them in well-planned activities that gently stretch children’s learning. The combination of engaging activities and the highly supportive environment enables children to thrive. Most go on to become confident learners who enjoy challenging tasks. As a result, children start Year 1 with levels that are either in line with or higher than the national average.'
Ofsted Report, June 2018
The Kindergarten offers the best possible start for children from 3 – 6 years old. We provide a caring, supportive and stimulating environment in a warm, light and large double room. It is modelled on European Kindergartens, where children learn through both play and work.
The school day is split into morning and afternoon sessions, with the older children beginning to stay all day. There is a maximum of 14 children per session with 3 teachers.
Working Towards Independence
Everyday tasks, that we take for granted, are to the child the vital skills required to function effectively in their culture. Mastering these basic skills leads the child towards a greater degree of independence. The Kindergarten is therefore equipped with a large range of ‘practical life materials’- exercises that allow the children to practice basic skills such as pouring, sorting, cleaning etc… Each child is also given a job for the week such as laying the table for lunch, tidying the snack table or watering the plants. The children are made to feel that the classroom is their ‘little house’. When children feel they have real power in their environment it is remarkable how careful they are in looking after and tidying up their classroom. Sweeping, mopping, and scrubbing are all favourite activities in the class! As the children increase their level of independence so they increase their self-esteem and confidence in the world and begin to feel a useful and trusted member of their society.
'Never help a child with a task that they feel they can complete themselves.'
Understanding their World
By the age of 3 children are generally consumed with curiosity about their world. In the Kindergarten we try to work with the children’s questions as much as possible, often building a whole lesson around a child’s question. The classroom is full of many different materials for teacher and child to use, covering a wide range of subjects, from language to cosmology. The equipment and furniture are largely wooden, which helps to create a calm atmosphere.
We do many of our daily activities outside in good weather.
'Curiosity is a delicate little plant that, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom.'
How We Keep Our Little Ones Safe
In today’s world it has become necessary for us to make you aware of our procedures, that we adhere to daily, that promote the safety of your child.
We never leave children unattended. All visitors are accompanied and never left alone with children. All staff are fully vetted as per Ofsted and Independent School Standards. All staff are well trained and educated, and continue to research and develop their practise. All staff are regularly appraised and monitored. We risk manage our environment on a daily basis. We accompany children to the toilet, encouraging independence. We all eat together and are aware of allergies and intolerances. We have at least one member of staff trained in paediatric first aid available at any one time. We ensure children are aware of setting boundaries and adapt and review these should need arise.
Outside, we deploy staff to both fully ensure safety and yet promote independence… our gates are strictly monitored and children are well trained with regard to safety. We fully ensure that children are aware of the physical area when outside in the forest, and this changes with the seasons. The children all know the safety rules regarding the wildlife of the forest. We are constant and constantly vigilant.
In addition to this we enjoy ‘Safety Awareness’ activities in Kindergarten, where we highlight through play and drama such things as walking carefully with scissors and washing hands effectively…
Moving on from Kindergarten
The Lower Primary class provides a natural progression from Kindergarten. Children from both classes mix socially throughout the school day and when they are ready, are gradually integrated into Lower Primary. Children who have attended our school from Kindergarten to Year 11 develop into exceptional human beings. Every one exhibits a maturity beyond their years, are personally self-confident and grounded, socially skilled and at ease, and achieve academic excellence. In fact every child who has been through the whole school has achieved A* - B grades in all their GCSEs - and the B grades were all for exams taken 1 to 2 years early.
However we understand that some children will move on after Kindergarten to their local schools. We always support both child and parents through this transition.
Some parents will only want their child to attend until the year in which they are 5, so that they can move onto to their local school. This is perfectly acceptable. However we would just add that experience has shown us that 4 year olds greatly benefit from at least spending an extra year in this class, as this allows them to consolidate socially and academically, and gives them the opportunity to be one of the older children.
The relationship between the younger and older children is inspiring for both parties as the younger children look up to and learn from the older ones, whilst the older children enjoy the respect and extra responsibilities their elder status confers upon them.
The Kindergarten Week
Here is an approximate outline of a typical school day in Kindergarten. Please note that this timetable is subject to change.