Lower School (Foundation Stage and Years 1 and 2)
The Lower School is home to children in:
Foundation Stage 1 - Little Dragons Pre-School for children aged 3-4 years
Foundation Stage 2 - Reception class (Willow Class) for children aged 4-5 years
Year 1 (Ash Class) for children aged 5-6 years
Year 2 (Chestnut Class) for children aged 6-7 years
What Ofsted (2019) said about our Lower School
Children settle happily into the routines and the school’s way of working. Good relationships are quickly established. Children soon gain confidence and take part in the many exciting learning opportunities. Independence is promoted at all times and children quickly develop self-care skills.
Read the full report here
We have two 15 seater minibuses. One minibus collects children in the morning and takes them home at night. The other minibus is available for visits off-site. We also transport children to sporting activities and our farm which is a short distance from school.
All drivers have a current DBS check and have full PSV driving entitlement.
The Most Important Years of Your Child's Life
Aristotle is quoted as saying, "Give me a child until the age of seven and I will show you the man."
How right he was! The years between birth and the age of seven are crucial years in a child's life. In this time the brain grows and develops faster than any other time in an individual's life. Controversially, maybe, we do not pack this period with the conventional idea of learning. We follow more of a Scandinavian approach and allow our children to be children, enjoying their childhood - for you only have one childhood! We encourage them to develop at a pace which is right for them, with plenty of fresh air, good food and lots of opportunities to learn through play. How do we know it works? Look at the results of our Scandinavian neighbours, talk to our parents or even better, come and watch our children and staff in action.
Real and Relevant Learning
It is our belief that children learn best when they are interested and fully engaged. We all know a child who is obsessed by dinosaurs, food or fairies, don't we? Whilst carefully observing and listening to their pupils, staff tune into what interests the children. Then, using their extensive knowledge of child development, they will 'slide into' the child's play, to extend the children's learning.
So, if we take the example of the child who lives and breathes dinosaurs, maybe we would use this interest and extend a child's learning by counting dinosaurs, comparing sizes of dinosaurs, measuring the length of a dinosaur on the playground, using technology to find out more about omnivores or carnivores, create mini habitats for dinosaurs, write labels or posters to inform others. This approach is called 'Planning in the Moment.' This means that staff seize opportunities (known as 'teachable moments') to develop a child's knowledge, problem solving and thinking. They will then meet other staff as a team and plan to use these interests by enhancing the indoor and outdoor environments with stimuli which will provoke further learning. If this all sounds very complicated, come and watch - our children have so much fun that they don't even realise that they are learning!
Gradually, during year 1, there is a transition to a slightly more formal learning environment, but still during both years 1 and 2, there is an emphasis on active, hands-on learning.
Learning Beyond the Classroom
Learning doesn't just take place in a classroom; it extends to our various outdoor environments, our farm and into the community beyond.
We invite visitors into school. Visitors have included a vet, a farmer, a doctor, a dental nurse, a parent demonstrating Mendhi patterns, parents reading stories in different languages, NSPCC, an African experience, authors....
We take the children to places of interest, which enables young minds to make the valuable links in their learning. Some of the places our children have visited are an organic farm, a garden centre, a doctor's surgery, the local market, a Chinese restaurant, the lifeboat station, the beach, the local May Fair, the supermarket, a cafe and the railway station. Wherever our children go, we always receive compliments about their wonderful behaviour.
Each class in Lower School visits the farm for a full day every fortnight.
Foundation Stage 1, 2 and Year 1 have a PE lesson from a Sports Coach at school each week. Year 2 children join the Upper School for PE at the Princess Royal Sports Arena.
All children receive a block of swimming lessons each year at the Geoff Moulder swimming pool.