Nursery school (0 to 3 years of age)
Making the transition from home to school positive and rewarding
NURSERY classes (0 to 3 years old) are carefully structured so that the children’s transition from home to school and their subsequent introduction to school activities are positive, rewarding and happy experiences.
Parents are encouraged to attend bonding sessions with their children to engage in motor and sensorial activities under the guidance of trained teachers.
Those parents who so wish, can tailor their children’s stay in the classroom until they are settled.
The timetable incorporates art and craft activities, singing, role play, soft play, swimming, construction and free play, garden play and stories, all of which are continued throughout the infant school.
The children engage in all activities in English, Spanish and Catalan.
Infant School (3 to 6 years of age)
Learning through acceptance and challenge
In Infant School classes teachers work to establish a balanced atmosphere of acceptance and challenge. At this stage, the children need to be composed enough to concentrate, yet free enough to experiment and make mistakes without feeling exposed or self-conscious.
We aim to give a firm foundation in the basic skills of language and numbers and do this largely through theme and project work.
Curriculum and activities
At the core of our educational policy are the seven areas of learning and development that shape our curriculum. All areas of learning are important and inter-connected.
The three prime areas are: Communication and Language; Physical Development; and Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
The four specific areas through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied are: Literacy; Mathematics; Understanding the World; Expressive Arts and Design.
Learning to understand and use language
In both small and large groups, children are encouraged to extend their vocabulary and fluency by talking and listening and by hearing and responding to stories, songs and rhymes.
A well-stocked book corner gives every child the opportunity and encouragement to become familiar with books, able to handle them and be aware of their uses, both for reference and as a source of stories and pictures.
Likewise, children extend their vocabulary and fluency in Spanish and Catalan which constitutes 20% of the curriculum.
Learning to know ourselves in order to keep growing
Within a nurturing environment, children are individually supported in developing confidence, autonomy and self-respect. Through activities, conversation and practical example, they learn acceptable ways to express their own feelings and to have respect for the feelings of others. In programmed Emotional Development workshops, they are encouraged to discuss their ideas, make choices, take risks and show perseverance. All children are given the opportunity to work independently and also to take part in the life of the group, sharing and co-operating with other children and adults.We encourage children to learn about different cultures by celebrating global observance days and festivals, tasting new foods and sharing different traditions from around the world.They are also encouraged to act in environmentally friendly ways by recycling in the classroom, dining room and playground.
Learning to act and be autonomous
A range of equipment, including brachiation ladders, and opportunities, both indoors, in our psychomotricity activity room and swimming pool and outdoors, allow children to develop confidence and enjoyment in the use and development of their own bodily skills. A very high level of adult supervision enables children to safely create and meet physical challenges, while developing increasing skill and control in moving, balancing and climbing. At the same time, children are supported in the development of the fine motor skills required to use tools, including pens, pencils and scissors, and to handle small objects with increasing control and precision.
Learning reading, writing and arithmetic and…loving it
Initially, we use Tactile letters to teach children the phonetic sounds of the alphabet. This is strengthened with the use of reading programmes, including Oxford Reading Tree literacy resources, to help reinforce the sounds through songs and actions.Using the phonics method, sounds are gradually blended together to form three (and more) letter words. Once a child is comfortable with ‘sounding out’ words, we progress to reading phrases and sentences within our reading programme.
By tracing the Tactile Letter sounds children learn the sound and shape of the letter, and gain muscular memory of the shape as a prelude to writing. Children are helped to understand that written symbols carry a meaning, to be aware of the purposes of, and when they are ready, to use drawn and written symbols for themselves. Our teachers take great care to ensure that letters and numbers are correctly formed. We encourage a firm pencil grip, creating smooth outlines and good clear shapes.
By means of adult-supported practical experience, children become familiar with sorting, matching, ordering, sequencing and counting activities that form the basis of early mathematics. As they use their developing mathematical understanding to solve practical problems, children are assisted to learn and use the vocabulary of mathematics, identifying objects by shape, position, size, volume and number. Songs, games and picture books help children become aware of number sequences and when they are ready, to use simple mathematical operations such as adding, subtraction and measurement.
Learning to discover and take the initiative
A safe and stimulating environment allows children to explore and experiment with a range of natural and manufactured materials. They learn to observe the features of objects and substances, recognising differences, patterns and similarities, and to share and record their findings. Children are assisted in exploring and understanding their environment, both within the group and also in the wider community to learn about animals and plants, and extend their understanding of the world.
Through well planned themes and topics the children discuss individual interests, people and communities. A range of safe and well-maintained equipment enables children to extend their technological understanding, using simple tools (iPads) and techniques to achieve their intentions and solve problems.
Learning to think, feel and communicate
Children are encouraged to use a wide range of resources in order to express their own ideas and feelings and to construct their individual responses to experience in two and three dimensions. Art equipment, including paint, glue, crayons and pencils as well as natural and discarded resources, provides for open-ended exploration of colour, shape and texture and the development of skills in painting, drawing and collage. Children join in with and respond to music and stories, and there are many opportunities for imaginative role-play, both individually and as part of a group.
To deliver this curriculum, we aim to use the best of traditional, Glenn Doman, Montessori and Elinor Goldshmied methods. The children have many opportunities for structured play and free play which are both a very important part of their early learning experiences. In addition through our specialist subjects of Music and Gardening, we seek to develop the children further.
Learning to sing and dance
We recognise the importance of music and singing for children’s growth and development. Music in early childhood creates a foundation upon which future music learning is built. Our music programme includes singing, moving, listening, creating, playing instruments, and responding to visual and verbal representations of sound in as many different ways as possible with the intention of building confidence within each child and encouraging them to develop their full potential.
Learning about garden treasures
The benefits of gardening with children are enormous. Children grow annual vegetables and sensory plants in our outdoor vegetable patch and learn about our environment, how to solve problems and about health and nutrition.
In educating children of this age, close communication between school and home is very important. A positive relationship between parents and staff is encouraged at all times to ensure we create the best possible environment and cooperation in the interest of the children. The school holds regular Parents’ Evenings but parents are also encouraged to discuss any matters that might affect their child’s welfare and development with the Head Teacher, Infant school psychologist or class teachers.
We use observations and records to support the children in their individual needs and interests.
Parents are invited to the Christmas nativity play and the Spring festival annually and are encouraged to visit us to share storytelling, art, music and similar activities during the school year.
Learning healthy eating habits
We promote healthy lifestyle by providing delicious and nutritious homemade meals. Our school chefs prepare delicious three-course home-cooked lunches and nutritious afternoon snacks in our fully equipped school kitchen.
They use locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, all sourced from highly reputable suppliers. While children are encouraged to try a variety of foods, we accommodate individual dietary requirements for religious and cultural reasons and to ensure that medical requirements are fulfilled. Our menus which are based on monthly rotation and seasonal can be found on our Parents Portal. In the Nursery school, parents are indicated as to how well your child has eaten that day. Teachers encourage good manners and the correct use of cutlery.
Learning to coexist in the big wide world
Students in Foundation classes 1, 2 and 3 go on outings of educational interest. The school provides a packed lunch prepared in the school kitchen which adds to their sense of adventure. All packed lunches are prepared respecting children’s individual dietary needs.