Early Childhood Curriculum

Early Childhood Curriculum

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Introduction to Early Childhood Curriculum

In Early Childhood we want our children to have fun, be happy, feel safe, and grow in confidence. Through the care and guidance of our teachers, we help children develop the ability to be creative, independent thinkers, and problem solvers. We work to instil a sense of resilience and perseverance in every child through fun and stimulating hands-on experiences that celebrate individual abilities and talents.

Our small classes, run by highly-qualified and experienced teachers and assistants, provide a rich combination of daily self-initiated activities, guided lessons, and small and large group interactions. Our core programme is enriched by strong partnerships with parents, and regular lessons with specialists in Art, World Languages (French or Spanish), Performing Arts, PE, and Forest School.

We also believe a young child's play is a vital part of their growth and development. Through play, children practice and consolidate the necessary skills and attitudes needed to acquire new knowledge and make sense of the world around them. Our secure playground, all-weather activity field, extensive private woodlands, meadows and forest classroom, offer a rare mix of stimulating outdoor spaces for children to develop understanding and grow physically, socially and emotionally.

We understand and champion the fact that children learn best in an environment that allows them to be children, first.

Jane Kullmann, Early Childhood Principal
Play-Based Curriculum Image

Integrated Play-Based Curriculum

The Early Childhood programme focuses on purposeful play, active learning, creativity,and critical thinking. We encourage children to actively explore the world, developing individual and shared inquiries. Our goal is to create a dynamic and joyful community of young learners who have strong educational foundations.

Through play, children create and problem solve, explore and discover, question and find answers, work together and individually, and generate a curiosity for our world. As they develop social competencies, we see them become confident and eager to learn more. 

Lower School student

Responsive Classroom

The responsive classroom approach is known for its teacher effectiveness, higher student achievement, and the emphasis it places on creating ideal spaces for learning. The goal of the responsive classroom is to create a safe, joyful, and challenging learning environment for every child.

Students scaffold their learning through an aligned curriculum. Simple skills and routines can be fostered and developed. The common language of the responsive classroom is introduced at the very beginning of language development in each 2-3 year old.

The key strengths

  • Setting a positive tone, and building a sense of belonging each day in our Morning Meeting.
  • Teaching children the essential skills to participate successfully.
  • Treating mistakes as opportunities to learn, grow and improve.
  • Using positive language.
  • Teaching in ways that build excitement about learning.
  • Giving children opportunities to reflect on their behaviour and learning.
  • Inviting parents to become a partner in their child's education.
Specialist Teaching Areas

Specialist Teaching Areas

Understanding the value of offering young children a rich and varied school experience, our students enjoy weekly lessons in Art, Forest Schools, World Languages (French or Spanish), PE, the Performing Arts, and Swimming. 

Importantly, all these lessons are developed and delivered by specialist teachers in their field, ensuring each child benefits from the best possible guidance. Each specialist lesson for each grade level has its own learning goals, and each is integrated into the mainstream classes, enabling us to deliver a joined-up approach that is both stimulating and fun. 

A key benefit of these lessons is that they allow children to express themselves in different ways. It helps them to develop their gross and fine motor skills, and communicate their emotions through movement, exercise, music, visual expression, and language. They also develop an aesthetic appreciation for the visual arts, design, music, and nature, which are vital ingredients in delivering a strong all-round education.

Lower School kids on stage

International Mindedness

We are proud to be part of a diverse multi-cultural school community made up of families from over 70 different nations. Our Expected Schoolwide Learning Results define how we prepare our students to make a positive difference in an ever-changing world. We create opportunities for students to develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to be internationally-minded, ethical, global citizens, and school ambassadors.

To us, being internationally minded encompasses an awareness and understanding of:

  • Life beyond your own nationality – as our children come from dozens of countries.
  • The interdependence among peoples – learning from the world enriches our lives.
  • The interdependence among countries – for a safer, more prosperous world.
  • The independence of people and countries – we are stronger together than apart.
  • The similarities and differences among people – that we are all basically the same inside.

We help our children want to become contributors who help others, show empathy, care and respect for people and things, are sensitive to other people’s needs, and embrace diversity.

By embracing internationalism, our children become confident individuals who are role models, listen to others, accept different points of view, experience new things, seek to understand others, traditions, customs and beliefs. In short, we help them see a better future is always possible

Flopsy Bunnies ages (2-3) Programme Overview

Two-year olds can choose to come 2, 3, 4 or 5 days a week in the mornings. There is an option to stay the full school day for the more mature students on 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 afternoons.

Key Learning Units Flopsy Bunnies (ages 2 - 3)
Personal, Social and Emotional Development Confidence, independence, personal identity, pride in achievements, share experiences and taking turns
Physical Development Range of movement, healthy practices, autonomy, control with playground equipment
Language Arts Differentiate sounds, listening, responding to instructions, handling books, mark-making
Exploring & understanding the world Curiosity and interest in objects, construction materials, initial knowledge of ICT equipment, showing interest in our world and cultures
Creativity, imagination & performance Representation as form of communication, signing, introduction to musical instruments, imaginative play and role-based play

Tiggy-Winkles (ages 3 - 4) Programme Overview

The morning three-year old class runs from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm. Children can opt to attend a full day Scrambler program 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 days a week. Students have weekly lessons in French, Dance and Movement and Forest Schools taught by a specialist.

Key Learning Units Tiggy-Winkles (ages 3 - 4)
Personal, Social and Emotional Development Expresses needs and feelings, takes turns, awareness of others, confidence and interest for new activities, select activity and stay focused
Physical Development Awareness of space, perseverance, movement, handling tools and objects, healthy practices
Language Arts Listening to others, developing vocabulary, using language to express themselves, rhyming, distinguishing between marks, structure of stories and understanding that print carries meaning
Numeracy Understanding of quantity, interest in numbers, count to 6, using comparative and positional language, talk about shapes and arrangements
Exploring & understanding the world Asks questions, develops cause/effect, constructs with purpose, shows curiosity, operate simple equipment, talk about the past and present
Creativity, Imagination and Performance Imaginative and role play, responds to comments and questions, interest in familiar songs, works creatively on drawings / constructions, explore and experiement

Pre-K (ages 4 - 5) Programme Overview

The four-year old programme runs from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm with an option to stay half-day. Specialist teachers teach weekly classes in Art, Forest Schools, Performing Arts, French, PE, Library and Swimming.

Key Learning Units Pre-K (ages 4 - 5)
Personal, Social and Emotional Development Awareness of boundaries, works in a team, operates independently, respect for own and other cultures, confident and motivated to learn, engages in actvities and maintains concentration, reflects on own learnings and actions
Physical Development Control in gross and fine motor skills, moves with confidence, imagination and safety, healthy practices
Language Arts Reading: developing a life-long love of reading, phonemic awareness, letters make words
Writing: attempting writing, dictating and drawing to tell stories
Listening & Speaking
Language standards
Numeracy Counting: recognizing numerals to 10 by name, count to 20, write to 10
Addition & Subtraction: Solve problems through exploration and play, add and subtract within 5
Measurement & Data: compare length, weight and time, graphing, using coins
Patterning & Geometry
Exploring & understanding the world Explore surroundings using the senses, asking questions and making predictions, building and constructing, self-expression
Creativity, Imagination and Performance Creates representations of people, events and objects, explores colours, texture, share, forms and space in 2 and 3D, imagination through different media, recognising patters and rhythms in music

Kindergarten (ages 5 - 6) Programme Overview

The five-year old programme runs from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm and specialist teachers teach weekly classes in Art, PE, Performing Arts, French, Library and Swimming.

Key Learning Units Kindergarten (ages 5 - 6)
English Language Arts Phonics develop phonemic awareness, introduce and review letter and sound identification.
Reading: simple pattern books, individualised reading books, comprehension skills, sight word identification and memorisation.
Writing:Demonstrate and model writing process through morning message, class charts, making class books, and introducing Writer's Workshop using inventive spelling and Word Wall.
Handwriting:numeral and letter formation, pencil grip.
Mathematics Daily calendar, counting, exploration of manipulatives, numeral recognition, numeral writing, graphing, estimating, sorting, comparing, classifying, measurement activities.
Addition and subtraction number work, problem solving, math games, 2D and 3D shapes, getting to know numbers 1 - 9.
Science and Social Studies Community building, healthy eating, holiday/cultural traditions and celebrations, flag ceremonies, Five Senses Science Fair, International Fair, Polar regions.
ACS Cobham Early Childhood Parent
The teachers have created a very positive learning environment where my son has been able to thrive.
ACS Cobham Early Childhood Parent
Scramblers Forest Schools

Forest Schools

In their own worlds, the philosophy of Forest Schools is "to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through an innovative, long term, educational approach to outdoor play and learning in a woodland environment,"

When outdoors, children have the freedom to explore their physical boundaries, take risks, and discover the real world around them through all their senses. We see the huge benefits this type of learning has on a child's esteem and confidence. 

Being outside is liberating for a child, as they have the room to be active, work on a large scale, and enjoy being noisy and messy. We see the results Forest School brings to our children, as it increases self-confidence and self-esteem with activities based on small, achievable steps. It also improves group co-operation skills as well as giving children time to develop independence. 

As the pioneering nursery educator, Margaret McMillan, once said, "The best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky."