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      Early Years

      Girls are able to join our Nursery from the beginning of the half term that they become 3, as a 'rising 3'.

      In this first year of Nursery, the minimum number of sessions that a girl must attend is three, although she can attend for more than this, up to full time. Our Before and After School Care, known as Tops and Tails, is open to all Nursery girls.

      Girls who become four during the School year attend the second year of Nursery. They must attend for a minimum of six sessions, up to full time.

      The focus and emphasis within Nursery is learning through play, although the girls also enjoy more structured activities and formal French, Music and PE and swimming lessons every week.

      Entry into our two parallel Reception classes is automatic for girls who have been in the Nursery. Reception girls will become five during the School year and attend School full time.

      Reception girls spend more time in formal activities although they still learn much through play activities and their own investigations. They continue to learn French, Music, PE and swimming with our specialist teachers.

      All our teachers and teaching assistants are highly qualified and experienced and give all the girls a significant amount of individual attention, allowing them to be both encouraged and nurtured in our warm, supportive environment. The curriculum is delivered through stimulating, topic based activities which become increasingly more structured for girls in Reception. Activities may be whole class and teacher led as well as child initiated ones.

      The Early Years and Foundation Stage curriculum is divided into three prime areas of learning and four specific areas.

      The three Prime Areas are:

      • Personal Social and Emotional Development (PSED)

        PSED is a very important part of learning in the Foundation Stage. Girls are encouraged to develop their independence skills, make friends and learn to work as part of a team as well as on their own. Girls learn to help, be kind, respect and value each other.

      • Communication and Language

        We work very hard at developing the girls' language skills. They are encouraged to speak and share their ideas as well as developing listening skills and working with talking partners. Our Nursery girls especially love stories and rhymes and enjoy lots of story based activities.

      • Physical Development

        All girls in Nursery and Reception are fortunate in that they have the opportunity of having formal PE Lessons with our Prep School PE specialist teachers. Weekly Swimming lessons are also taught throughout the School year, using our on-site swimming pool. Sports Day is always a highlight of the Summer Term and all girls love to take part, working hard to gain points for their House.

        Physical development is also encouraged with the girls using our fantastic newly installed playground and riding the wheeled toys.

        Fine motor skills are developed within the classroom by early mark making by the Nursery girls; leading on to more formal writing by Reception, handling tools and manipulating materials.

      The four Specific Areas are:

      • Literacy

        Children learn to read through a combination of pictures, sight vocabulary, prediction, story book knowledge and phonics and we use all these when teaching them to read. The important first steps in Nursery involve book sharing, story telling and looking at pictures. These girls play sound based games and use their own names to begin to understand sounds.

        Once in Reception, the teaching of phonics (the blending of sounds) becomes more formal. We use the Ruth Miskin scheme, Read Write Inc. Once the girls have learnt their phonics, they move onto story books and story writing.

        Reading takes place daily in a variety of ways.

      • Mathematics

        In Nursery, girls enjoy number rhymes, sorting and counting activities which are then developed as they move into Reception. They are encouraged to use mathematical understanding in all areas of learning including games, role play and art activities.

        Maths takes place across the curriculum, focusing on number, shape, space and measure.

      • Understanding of the World

        This is one of the most interesting and useful areas of our curriculum. Every day the girls learn about the world about them, developing skills such as Computing, designing and making things, exploring and observing their surroundings. Every half term topic the girls study is brought to life by finding out about their world.

      • Expressive Arts and Design

        All girls benefit from Music lessons with the Prep School Music teacher. They love the opportunity to sing and play instruments. They are given the opportunity to use different media to express themselves in Art activities and use their imagination in role-play in the indoor and outdoor classrooms.

        Girls love to perform and they all participate in the Christmas Nativity which is performed to the rest of the School, parents and other invited guests. Reception also take part in their own Parents' Assembly during the Summer Term.

      • Educational visits and learning outside the classroom

        As part of their curriculum, the girls really enjoy all the opportunities to learn outside both in their new playground and the wider School environment. They go on Nature Walks, grow plants and observe how the environment changes during the different seasons.

        To allow them further opportunities to extend their learning and experiences, the girls also go on trips to other places, for example, farms where they become farmers for the day and country parks where they can investigate the environment. They also visit the theatre.

      • Contact with parents and reporting

        We hold an Information Evening for parents at the beginning of the School year, where parents are invited to meet their daughter's teacher and teaching assistant and to hear about what will be taking place over the year.

        Every term, we hold an Open Afternoon where parents are invited in to see the different activities their daughter enjoys at School.

        There are two Parents' Evenings, one in the Autumn Term and the other in the Spring Term, where parents have an individual appointment to discuss the progress that their daughter is making.

        Reception parents have a third meeting at the end of the Summer Term which allows us to share the results of the EYFS Profile for their daughter.

        A full written report is sent home at the end of the School year which refers to the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile. This tells parents how well their daughter has done in each of the Prime and Specific areas of learning.

        Parents can, of course, make an appointment to speak to the teachers at any time.