Our school admits children from two years old. The children in Early Years do not have to attend full time. We offer flexible attendance to suit the needs of the child and parent. When the children initially start at two, many of them do not speak much or speak English. The teachers encourage them to talk through play, games and a variety of learning activities which supports the children. School is always a better option than keeping a child at home. We offer qualified teachers with many years of experience. The classrooms are well resourced with games and toys accessible to the children. They are given many fun opportunities to be messy, such as painting, clay and water play. They can explore their environment inside and outside. Each classroom has an extended outdoor area, which the children can continually visit. We have a safe and exciting playground with an enormous pirate ship for the children to climb on and many bikes and cars for them to ride on. An important aspect of school is the development of social skills. If a child is at home, even if they play with siblings or a friend, they do not have the same social mix that they would have at school. It is important for them to form friendships and become used to sharing, taking turns and respecting others.
There are many cultures and nationalities at the school. We celebrate and share these with each other. The children who do not have English as their first language are supported through demonstrations, modeling, pictures and non verbal cues. The class routines help the children to feel safe and secure, even children as young as two who may be reluctant to speak, soon understand and follow simple instructions. They may not talk for a while, but they absorb everything, when they do start speaking English, they do not stop talking. While the children are young, this is an asset. They are not embarrassed or worried about making a mistake, they say whatever is on their minds at the time. All staff work closely with parents to ease transition, for instance, the Pre Nursery teacher always tries to learn a few sentences in the children’s home language to help the children feel comfortable from the start. The curriculum we follow is the revised Early Years Foundation stage published in March 2012. In the document, there are specific objectives for the children’s age in months. This ensures that all children are having a curriculum that meets their individual needs and their stage of development. The majority of activities in the Early Years are child led and reflect their abilities and interests. We assess through ongoing observations which help us build a picture of each child. Extracurricular activities and events are very important in Early Years. There are regular trips and walks around the local area. We have theatre performances and workshops. We take part in fun themed days such as science day, book day (last year we dressed as pirates) and international days. The children do creative activities with children from other year groups. These are great fun and really allow the children to mix with other children they may not usually play with.
The Early Years try to give something back to the local community. The Early Years student council raised over 10,000 CZK from an art auction and bake sale. This money went to a local orphanage when they visited our school for a play day and our children brought food from home to share. We teach children to be caring, balanced and open minded, values which Early Years promotes in everything we do.