True education begins long before exams are even on the horizon: the way we are taught in our early years has a huge influence on our long-term love of learning and the person we will eventually become. Instead of hot-housing, we give children the most precious thing of all – time. It’s only
by having time to explore new concepts that a child is able to ask the questions that might not have occurred to anyone else, to make connections to their past experiences, and to become fully immersed in a subject. Our creative early years curriculum sees classes choosing a new topic every term or half term, with everything they learn during that time linking to the theme as much as possible. This makes learning far more meaningful for the children and, because they are involved in investigating the topic and have a say in what they will study, they become active rather than passive learners. Some of the most valuable learning in these early years happens outside the classroom and we aim to provide as many opportunities as we can for children to explore the world. With this in mind, each class goes on a fact-finding mission when a new topic is introduced by making the best use of technology or by simply engaging with our incredible surroundings. Teaching in the Foundation Phase is predominantly by class teachers except for PE, Art, Music, ICT and additional language, which are taught by specialists. There is no formal homework – just regular reading, spellings and times tables to learn – and although we assess children regularly, there are no formal exams. Our aim in the Foundation Phase is to create a lively and vibrant environment which promotes an independence of spirit, a willingness to ‘have a go’ and a determination to succeed.