For parents and children alike, the process of transferring education from the family home to a school environment can be a daunting experience. Through an early cooperative process, starting from the family’s initial visit, our Early Years Department helps make the transition as easy and enjoyable as possible.
In some respects, Early Years is a more fitting description than pre-school: Branca's youngest pupils are as much a part of the school as any other. However, they benefit from their own tailor-made space, designed with their needs in mind. They enjoy a playground of their own as well as spacious, well-resourced classrooms and small class groups.
The wide range of resources, and – more importantly – the care and support of committed, trained staff, allows young learners to flourish in a safe, vibrant environment as they adjust to school life.
The Early Years programme is extremely valuable in of itself but it also serves to prepare pupils for the challenges they will face later on. They are taught music and physical education by the Junior School’s specialist teachers, and they enjoy time in the library every week where they have the freedom to borrow books and explore the resources around them. As well as joining Years 1 and 2 for assembly every Friday, Early Years pupils have the opportunity to watch older children in school performances, and later in the year they even perform themselves.
Children are admitted to Nursery after turning three and are allocated to one of two class groups. While the website gives a flavour of the Early Years approach, parents are invited to contact the school to arrange a visit, to gain further insight from teachers and support staff.
Our Nursery provides a welcoming introduction to school-based education for children from all backgrounds. Every child is furnished with the skills with which they are able to develop as individuals. Linguistic development is crucial in any environment but this is coupled with the social, emotional and physical to ensure pupils gain a broad, all-round education.
Teachers and support staff closely monitor progress in these areas to enable them to plan accordingly as development accelerates through the Early Years programme.
Children of all nationalities are encouraged to express themselves in the English language but also through play and exploration in a safe environment, to become active, creative and critical learners. They work thematically, allowing them to acquire skills in literacy, numeracy, expressive arts and design, as well as to develop an understanding of the world around them.
Reception is an important stepping stone as children continue to build on their nursery-age learning. In time, pupils move from self-initiated play to more structured, teacher-led activities. The emphasis is placed on developing the skills acquired in Nursery in preparation for more formal learning in Year 1. Children learn to concentrate for longer periods of time as they expand on their knowledge in both core and creative areas.