Nursery & Pre-Prep (N to Year 2)
Powerful words from 100 Acre Wood. Well, St. Edmund’s Nursery and Pre-Prep may not sit in quite such an expanse of woodland (a mere 40 acres of Surrey countryside to be precise) and the words of encouragement and optimism may not come from one so small or be aimed at one so obsessed with sticky honey but the sentiment is definitely one which sits comfortably with the ethos of the school. Children who attend our Nursery and Pre-Prep are given the confidence to make the most of their abilities, the opportunity to develop their skills within a nurturing environment and the expectation that everything and anything is possible with the right encouragement and support.
“A safe and happy place for everyone” is the mantra more often heard in the bright, airy Hunstanton block which houses the Nursery and Reception classes. Cathy Morley, Head of EYFS and our very own energetic yet wise Owl, elaborates, “We believe that our children develop best and achieve the most when they are nurtured and encouraged.”
St. Ed’s early years classes are small – with Nursery provision on a maximum of 1:4 or 1:6 ratio depending on age, and teaching groups of 14 children on average in Pre-Prep classes. Regular communication with and reporting to parents is part of the St. Ed’s style, ensuring that each child’s development and progress is carefully monitored and encouraged. “I love the easy communication available throughout the school, from the open door policy of the Headmaster, Adam Walliker, to the quick beginning or end of day catch up with the teachers in Pre-Prep. It’s important for me as a parent to know what has been going on in my child’s day,” explains Krissie Christie, a St. Ed’s parent.
Platters of prepared fruit or freshly cut sandwiches are served to the children mid morning together with squash or milk. At midday, freshly prepared and cooked lunches from the School kitchen are available in the Nursery for the very youngest children or served in the panelled dining room for the rest of Pre-Prep, a vaulted hall definitely more evocative of Hogwarts than the House at Pooh Corner. The class teachers eat with the children from their class in “family style” dining encouraging good manners and behaviour. No fingers in the honey pots here.
A structured yet flexible timetable ensures that the fantastic team of class teachers can make the most of all the opportunities available to the children, be it the unexpected autumn sunshine for scrumpy collection and apple cake baking, or the emergence of the carefully tended butterflies from their cocoons for release into the scented buddleia around the tennis courts.
“Making the most of the extensive School site and facilities and the specialist teaching available from the Prep School mean that even our very youngest children benefit from the whole St. Ed’s experience,” explains Cathy. Indeed teaching from subject specialists from the Prep School in French, ICT, Swimming, Music, Dance and Sport combine fluidly with classroom based learning from the experienced Pre-Prep team. And the opportunities don’t stop there - extracurricular activities are encouraged with ballet, judo, golf, tennis, instrumental music lessons and drama classes available in school and outings organised on a regular basis to locations as diverse as the Alpaca farm in Haslemere and HMS Victory in Portsmouth to paddling on West Wittering beach.
Who knew that going to school could be so rewarding? Even Eeyore wouldn’t stay gloomy for long...