Children learn best in an environment rich in educational opportunities and experiences. Play and investigation are key to igniting an interest in learning.
For that reason, our curriculum is designed to embrace some of the practical, play-based aspects of the Early Years curriculum; adapting and extending them to support the continued development of the children. This also ensures that the children experience a smooth transition from the Early Years to the Key Stage 1 Curriculum.
Across all subjects, children work collaboratively with their peers but have many opportunities to complete activities independently. They are guided and nurtured but also taught to be reflective learners who seek opportunities to improve upon their own work. Our children’s education passes far beyond the skills of reading, writing and mathematics; we are passionate about the holistic development of the children. Throughout the school year, we seek opportunities to celebrate achievement, to help those around us and to recognise the value in ourselves and others. Our Jigsaw (Personal Social and Health Education) assemblies are used to explore themes and feelings that are familiar to the children. In these assemblies and in the follow-up lessons in the classroom, we promote positive behaviour and effective learning through focusing on five aspects: self-awareness, managing feelings, motivation, empathy and social skills.
While we work and learn together in a small community, we feel that it is important for the children to remember that they are part of a larger one; one in which they can make a valuable contribution. We also want them to develop a sense of appreciation. In a sensitive way, we educate children on events that happen in The Netherlands and in the wider world. Where we feel we can make a difference, we do so by raising money for those less fortunate. Many of these fund-raising events are organised and run by our elected school councillors from Year 1 and 2.
Forest School and Active Fridays
We place much value on the need for the children to learn life skills and develop self-esteem as well as gaining academic knowledge. For that reason, we are proud to run our Forest Schools, Active Fridays and swimming programmes. These comprise a large part of our Friday timetable in both year groups.
Swimming lessons are an important element of our Physical Education curriculum. All children in Year 1 and 2 have one extended block of lessons each school year. The children are transported by coach to the local swimming pool, where they learn to swim or develop their swimming skills in small groups taught by qualified swimming instructors. All of the children work towards achieving a series of Dutch swimming diplomas.
Forest Schools is a concept which first originated in Scandinavia. It promotes learning, develops confidence and supports social and emotional development in all learners through being in the outdoors, using hands on, play-based and practical experiences. Our local woodlands offer a unique teaching and learning experience in an ever changing environment. There are opportunities abound to explore and enquire, all the while developing language and reasoning skills, independence and perseverance. Through their exploration and interaction with nature we aim for the children to continue to build on their understanding of the world around them, alongside developing and strengthening their own skills, confidence and self-belief.
The Forest School and Active Fridays programmes run concurrently, with all children working within each activity for several weeks at a time. When not exploring the forest, our children are cooking, gardening or engaging in drama activities. All activities are planned and run by our team of staff, who work tirelessly to inspire and motivate the children. The children thoroughly enjoy these experiences and gain a great deal from working together, helping each other and learning new skills. Each activity is also closely tied in to our National Curriculum objectives to support and extend the in-class learning taking place across the curriculum.
Special Events and Activities
It is said that school days are the best days of our lives. We certainly believe that our children will look back on their time with us with great fondness.
Living in The Netherlands, it is important that we recognise and respect the important aspects of Dutch culture and tradition. In December, we welcome Sinterklaas and his helpers to our school, preparing the children in advance by teaching them about this tradition and learning songs; and, on King’s Day, we dress up in orange and play traditional Dutch games to celebrate the King’s birthday.
We hope our children will remember how fun their time with us was; how their teachers made the most of every day and every lesson, bringing education to life and helping the children to really experience learning. We hope they will remember coming to school dressed in full Viking costumes and carrying out a ‘raid’ on the other classrooms or the visit from the firefighters.
They will remember the excitement of preparing for their year group productions; learning their lines, practising songs and perfecting dance routines. They will remember the looks of pride on the faces of their parents and teachers as they took to the stage with their peers, supporting each other and enjoying their performance. They will also remember the pride they themselves felt.
Our school environment and ethos is an excellent one. We believe that all children deserve the chance to shine and excel in life.
A typical day
The school day for Infant School children starts at 8.45am, but many children arrive for 8.30am, when the classrooms are open and children can start the day with activities in their classrooms. The children have a morning playtime of 15 minutes and another playtime at lunchtime of 45 minutes. Snack and lunch are both eaten in the classroom before these playtimes.
Our school day comprises seven forty-five minute periods and each class has it’s own timetable to follow to ensure all subjects are covered. The school day ends at 3.15pm but we also have a range of extra-curricular activities which take place from 3.30pm to 4.30pm.