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Nursery and Reception

Abberley Hall Early Years Department, covering children up to the age of 5, offers a well-structured range of child-initiated play, practical activities and adult-led learning to help children grow physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially during their first years. Children are provided with opportunities to build on key learning skills such as speaking, listening and concentration to work together and co-operate with their peers.

We think it is important to be able to build on experiences and interests of the children within the class and to make the most of our beautiful surroundings and the facilities of the school.

Any special educational needs can be spotted early on and supported. These needs may include those of particularly able children as well as those with learning difficulties.

Nursery and Reception

Abberley Hall Early Years Department, covering children up to the age of 5, offers a well-structured range of child-initiated play, practical activities and adult-led learning to help children grow physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially during their first years. Children are provided with opportunities to build on key learning skills such as speaking, listening and concentration to work together and co-operate with their peers.

We think it is important to be able to build on experiences and interests of the children within the class and to make the most of our beautiful surroundings and the facilities of the school.

Any special educational needs can be spotted early on and supported. These needs may include those of particularly able children as well as those with learning difficulties.

Nursery 1 (2-3 years old)

During their first year at Abberley we aim to instil confidence, happiness and the early foundations of learning. Children join this nurturing environment from the age of 2 with a focus on hands on learning, creativity and challenges to help your child grow both intellectually and emotionally.

The children benefit from the extensive outdoor space as well as the excellent indoor facilities and are offered activities such as Drama, Ballet/Yoga and Movement, Cooking, Art and Music to name a few. They will be introduced to phonics, number skills as well as early mark making to give them the best possible start to their education.

The children spend snack times, morning registration, music, lunch time and outdoor play times with the Nursery 2 class so when they move up the transition is smooth and seamless.

Nursery 2 (3-4 years old)

In their second year pupils experience a more structured day in readiness for full time school. The foundations begun in Nursery 1 are built upon through the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, with a daily focus on Communication, Language and Literacy and Mathematical skills. Weekly P.E/Yoga, Cooking, Art, Music, Ballet/Music and Movement and Swimming are carefully woven into the curriculum. They still enjoy the freedom of the outdoors and we ensure that the learning both indoors and outdoors is both stimulating, fun and creative.

Reception ( 4-5 years old)

Reception classes are held in the Early Years area, so the transition from Nursery to full time school is a gentle one. The children will learn to read through daily phonic activities, form numbers, learn the numicon number line and explore shapes. The children are equipped with the skills to write independently and to form letters in cursive or joined script. By the summer term most children have completed their Foundation Stage Curriculum and have become independent learners. They enjoy specialist afternoon lessons in PE, Music, Drama and Swimming. After School clubs are enjoyed by many; dance club, nature club, art club and specialisms in gymnastics, ballet and tennis are also on offer.

The Pre-Prep

The Pre-Prep for Years 1 and 2 have their own area within the school and also enjoy the benefits of the expertise of Prep School staff when learning Drama, French, Music, IT or PE.

We aim to create a stimulating environment to develop a love of learning with sound academic skills that will support their learning throughout their school career. Our ethos is to tailor the education to each individual child.

As the children enhance their skills in reading, writing, mathematics and science, topics such as toys or electricity help to make learning more meaningful and memorable.

Teachers assess the children’s progress continually. Any special educational needs can be spotted early on and support will be given where needed. This includes helping the gifted and talented as well as those with particular needs. We aim to keep class sizes to a maximum of 16 children in the Pre-Prep.

Every child reads in school every day. Literacy and numeracy are covered in the mornings leaving the afternoons for creative and physical activities. We aim to create a stimulating, creative and fun environment where the children develop a love of learning and a range of skills that will be beneficial to them throughout their school career and beyond.

Our beautiful grounds feature a fully-equipped Forest School and classroom-sized treehouse run by a qualified Pre-Prep Forest School leader. Class 1 and Class 2 have their own Forest School session every week throughout the school year.

This hands-on approach to learning takes the children out of the classroom to work and play. Where appropriate, lessons are linked to the topics being taught in the classroom.

As research shows, children's motivation for learning and discovery is increased in a natural outdoor setting. This also spills over into increased attention and focus within the classroom.

Curriculum

Class 1

In Class 1 pupils begin the Key stage 1 National Curriculum. During this year Class 1 are introduced to more in depth independent learning. Science, Computing, History, Geography, Art and DT and other areas are taught through topics allowing children to become immersed in a subject and to find relevance in all that they learn. Opportunities are provided for the children to take this learning into their play in role play, games, craft and forest school. Every child begins the day by reading one-to-one with the class teacher or assistant. Morning lessons are focused on Maths and English whilst the afternoons allow for the more creative and physical activities.

Class 2

Pupils in Class 2 enjoy specialist teaching in French and the violin as a class instrument introducing music reading and what we hope will become a lifelong love of music. Subjects from Class 1 are developed further and the children are introduced to the concept of History and Geography as separate subjects in preparation for the Prep School. Debate, discussion and looking for patterns and links are encouraged to build the foundation for verbal reasoning skills. Time is given to current events ensuring that the children are aware of their place in the wider world. The children are encouraged to become more independent and to set an example to the younger children. They interact more freely with the Prep School to make their transition the following year a smooth but exciting one.


On top of following the National Curriculum, the Pre-Prep have timetabled lessons in the following subjects, all of which are taught by our professional and inspiring teachers.

P.E.

P.E. is taught to all our age groups from Reception upwards, with children having two lessons a week with a Prep School specialist teacher. The children learn balance, co-ordination, ball skills and an element of competitiveness. This is demonstrated during our Summer Sports Day where every child has the chance to take part in their class races and win medals.

Music

Timetabled music lessons are held with the Director of Music from the Nursery onwards. The children are taught instruments, singing, rhythm and melodies in lessons and they have the opportunity to perform in concerts throughout the school year.

Individual lessons: Individual instrumental tuition is available to any child provided their hands are big enough to cope with the instrument they wish to play and that they have lots of enthusiasm. Lessons can be arranged for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the age of the pupil, and are always with the class teacher's agreement. Please contact the Director of Music for more information.

Drama

The children are encouraged to get on stage from an early age and we have several performances throughout the year where parents are warmly welcomed to come and see our dramatics in action. Reception, Class 1 and 2 receive weekly drama lessons with a specialist drama teacher. London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) courses are available upon request from our Head of Dramatic Arts as an optional specialism in Class 2.

French

At Abberley we firmly believe that learning a new language for the first time should be an exciting, vibrant experience and we introduce languages from an early age. In the Pre-prep the children follow a course called ‘Salut Céline et Antoine!’ which lasts for two years and is adapted to the seven to nine age range. The methodology is based on real communication situations suited to the interests, experience and social development of the age group. Children learn through a variety of oral and practical activities, with the addition of reading and writing as they progress through the course.

Swimming

From Nursery upwards all our children use our indoor heated swimming pool and receive weekly lessons from our qualified swimming instructors - learning the basics up to the badges!