Since the summer term 2021, our Kindergarten operates from our new, dedicated site at 99 Herne Hill. Children can attend term-time once they have turned two years old, for full-day provision two to five days per week. The number of days can be changed on a half termly basis, subject to availability.
The school day runs from about 9am to 3pm depending on the class, with drop-off and pick-up windows of currently 20 minutes each.
Optional after school care is available until about 4.45pm, when the after school activity clubs finish for the Pre-Prep (Pre-Prep care is available until 6.00pm). We usually also offer an optional breakfast club from 7.45am but this currently not available due to COVID-19 restrictions; we hope to be able to offer this again from autumn 2021.
Our experienced and dedicated Kindergarten team ensure that children receive the very best education. This is built on our ethos of “Love ● Care ● Excellence”, which lies at the heart of our provision together with a highly tailored and individual approach. We have a high staff ratio of about 1:6 to enable this.
The children are grouped into four small classes (Heather, Lavender, Rosemary and Sage), for each of which a patch with multiple varieties of their namesake is planted in the garden. This helps them appreciate the whole cycle from growing, harvesting, preparing and eating seasonal produce to repurposing food waste back into the ground through composting.
Our Kindergarten curriculum is play-based and exploratory. Although it meets the requirements of the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), it aims to go much further. We regularly set and achieve ambitious learning goals through thoughtful planning of the learning environment and experiences which are tailored to every child’s needs, including extensive outdoor learning opportunities and forest school activities in the nature area at our main site. Play is the young child’s work, and by providing the right play, we make learning fun.
Over lunch the children eat a family service hot meal in the classroom. This is prepared freshly on a daily basis in our professionally equipped kitchen by a Chef dedicated to the site. In addition to the obvious nutritional advantages, the lunch service offers a number of educational benefits such as exposure to new foods and social interaction at meal times.
After lunch, the children who would like to take a rest can take a nap in one of our two sensory rooms, which transform into sleeping spaces with blackout blinds for this purpose.
Naturally, not all 2 + year olds will be toilet-trained when they join us, and this is not at all a problem. Our staff are happy to work with parents in this regard and understand that ‘accidents’ will continue to happen whilst the children are this young. If it is felt that a child is not ready to join our Kindergarten, we are happy to consider deferring entry to a later stage.
In the latter part of the academic year, the children are gradually introduced to our main site and its woodland area to enable smooth progression through the five-year continuous curriculum.