The Early Years

Early Years is where it all begins, where children learn to be part of a larger community and develop the skills and dispositions that are the foundation for future learning. It is about discovery and exploration, having fun and making friends.

We believe that children’s first experience of school should be a happy and positive one, so we work closely with parents to make the transition from home to school as smooth as possible. Daily routines provide a reassuring structure. Older and younger children work together in one larger group; older ones learn to take responsibility, and explain, the younger ones learn from them. The atmosphere is caring and familiar, and all children are valued, stimulated and supported as individuals.

Learning is fun. It is organized through topics which include all aspects of development.  Children learn through both play and structured activities, which are both child initiated child and adult led, indoors and outside.  


Early Years constitutes two years of pre-school from 3 to 5 years of age. They are considered both a transition from home to school and a preparation for formal schooling which begins in Year 1. We base our programme on the Foundation Stage of the English National Curriculum, which we adapt to meet the needs of the children at The New School. The following are some of the skills the children should achieve by the end of their second year.

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Personal, social and emotional development

Dispositions and attitudes:  To sustain involvement and persevere in an activity, particularly when trying to solve a problem or reach a conclusion; to be confident to try new activities, initiate ideas and speak in a familiar group; to have a developing respect for their own cultures and beliefs and those of other people.

Social development:  To take into account the ideas of others; to form good relationships with adults and peers; to work as part of a group or class, taking turns and sharing fairly, understanding that there needs to be agreed values and codes of behaviour for groups of people, including adults and children, to work together harmoniously.

Emotional development:  To display a strong and positive sense of self-identity and be able to express a range of emotions fluently and appropriately; to understand what is right and wrong and why.

Communication, language and literacy

Language for communication and thinking: To talk and listen confidently and with control, consistently showing awareness of the listener by including relevant detail.  To use language to work out and clarify ideas, showing control of a range of appropriate vocabulary.

Linking sounds and letters:  To use knowledge of letters, sounds and words when reading and writing independently; to attempt to read simple, regular and sometimes more complex words, using phonic knowledge.

Reading:  To read books of own choice with some fluency and accuracy; to show an understanding of how information can be found in non-fiction texts to answer questions.

Writing: To hold a pencil and use it effectively to form recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed; to communicate meaning through phrases and simple sentences with some consistency in punctuating sentences.

Mathematical development

Numbers as labels and for counting:  To recognise, count, order, write and use numbers up to 20; to use developing mathematical ideas and methods to solve practical problems.

Calculating:  To begin to use the vocabulary involved in adding and subtracting in practical activities and discussions; to use a range of strategies for addition and subtraction, including some mental recall of number bonds.

Shape, space and measures:  To use mathematical language to describe solid (3D) objects and flat (2D) shapes; to use language such as 'greater', 'smaller', 'heavier' or 'lighter' to compare quantities.

Knowledge and understanding of the world

To communicate simple planning for investigations and constructions and to make simple records and evaluations of her/his work; to identify and name key features and properties, sometimes linking different experiences, observations and events; to begin to explore what it means to belong to a variety of groups and communities.

Physical development

To repeat, link and adapt simple movements, sometimes commenting on her/his work; to demonstrate coordination and control in large and small movements, and use a range of tools and equipment safely; to recognise the importance of keeping healthy and those things which contribute to this; to recognise the changes that happen when they are active.

Creative development

To express feelings and preferences in response to artwork, drama and music and make some comparisons and links between different pieces; to respond to own work and that of others when exploring and communicating ideas, feelings and preferences through art, music, dance, role-play and imaginative play.

Daily Routine (times are approximate!)

08.45 - 09.15

Each day begins with free play activities to allow the children to settle in gently and happily into their day at school. We then tidy up and do the register.

09.30 - 10.15

The children usually separate at this point and do a variety of activities in groups. Each day there will usually be a teacher led activity for topic, one for numbers and one for ESL/literacy as well as some independent activities. Over the week, each child will complete all the activities

10.20 - 10.30

Snack time. The children help us serve fruit, juice and biscuits.

10.30 - 10.55

Playtime. The children are supervised in the primary garden.

11.00 - 12.15

Various activities based on the current topic as above.

12.20 - 13.50

Lunch and then playtime in the primary garden. We encourage the children to eat a balanced meal and to gradually make choices about their meal.

13.50 - 14.00

Drinks etc.

14.00 - 15.00

Various activities as before.

15.00 - 15.15

Tidy up time!

15.15 - 15.25


15.25 - 15.30

Bookbags, Songs

Weekly/other activities

Circle Time: We encourage the children to talk about their feelings, value one another and with support to find solutions to disagreements and problems

Twice a week the children have music with our music teacher. Once a week, gymnastics at a local gym, library, sport (PE) and assembly.

Communication with Parents

We believe that your involvement in your child's first years at school is essential. We encourage you to be as involved as you can. We are always available to talk with you either before or after school, in addition to the more formal meetings that we arrange during the year. We also supply a communication book in your child's bookbag for messages, comments etc. We look forward to getting to know both you and your child.