Academics at BOS
Early Years and Foundation Stage
Our youngest children form part of our Early Years and Foundation Stage (EYFS). At the British Overseas School these are the Pre-Nursery, Nursery and Reception classes, although in other school the nomenclature may vary.
According to our British Schools Overseas Report, EYFS is another of the school’s ‘outstanding features’.
Pre-Nursery & Nursery Classes
In the Pre-Nursery and Nursery classes in particular the BOS adopts the philosophy of ‘Learning through Play’ or, perhaps more aptly, ‘Playing to Learn’.
We believe that ‘learning’ comes in many different forms and can be found in many different settings. For older children and students we believe they learn at break time as well as in lessons; we believe they learn on the playing field as well as in classrooms. And as a general rule, children, students…adults, learn best when they are enjoying themselves.
For our younger children we believe critical aspects of learning at an early age include: independence, getting along with others, building an identity, understanding their physical potential and communicating effectively. And that they are best able to learn these skills and comprehend this new knowledge when they are enjoying themselves – ‘Playing to Learn’.
To achieve our aims in EYFS we have created an environment that gives children rich and stimulating experiences as well as the opportunity to make good choices about those experiences. These daily experiences include: water play, puzzles, role play, art and sand play, as well as PE and yoga.
The classrooms, indoor and outdoor, are large, bright and open-plan, to allow children to move around, to explore and to investigate activities as well as to join with others or to enjoy a little alone time with a favourite toy and their imagination.
The classes are well-resourced, with an emphasis on interaction, creativity and problem-solving. You will find very little technology in our classrooms, as our aim is to interact and engage with children, not simply to keep them occupied.
The more traditional skills of reading, writing and arithmetic are not ignored, but are incorporated into the play activities so that, by the time the children are 4 years old, these skills are emergent – ready to be consolidated and extended in the Reception class.
The Reception Class
Apart from a child’s first day at school, Reception is the first big transition that children make at school. In the Reception class children gradually move away from learning through play into a more traditional classroom setting and more traditional teaching methods.
By traditional, we do not mean worksheets and textbooks, but rather a more structured approach to classroom learning to ensure that children develop self-discipline, as well as the skills required to flourish in Key Stage 1.
Teaching in Early Years
Playing with small children all morning might seem like the easiest of teaching jobs. Actually, when done properly, it is probably one of the hardest.
Young children are inquisitive, energetic and enthusiastic. The role of our teachers is to encourage, to support and to channel those attributes into constructive play and effective learning. They facilitate a child’s learning by maintaining a careful balance between freedom and guidance; between prescription and exploration. So our teachers need to be alert, observant, engaging, creative and at least as energetic as their young students.
At the BOS our EYFS classes benefit from excellent adult:children ratios. On average, one can expect at least three adults in the classroom at any time. This exceeds the UK and international norm, which is two, or even one, adult working with a class of 25 children. Whilst this ensures first class attention for our children, it also demands that our teachers work effectively as a team, not only during the class but also afterwards as they share the experiences of the day and record the progress that each child has made – as part of their Learning Journey