BADGER CUBS, BADGERS AND RECEPTION (EARLY YEARS)
A day in the Castle Court Early Years Department is busy, happy, and great fun! The children happily go about their learning and development activities with increasing independence and confidence. We embrace the ethos of planned and purposeful play and exploration, both in and out of doors. We recognise that each child is unique and that in order to meet their needs, they follow widely differentiated learning programmes. Staff ensure that the children make excellent progress from their initial starting point in Badger Cubs to the end of the year in Reception.
We pride ourselves on the children having access to a bright and varied range of creative resources, both indoors and outdoors, which are regularly updated and added to. The children are able to learn through a wide variety of learning styles, including independent or group free play, whole-class learning and one-to-one sessions. Groups of children are small thus ensuring a warm family feel within each class. There are very high adult-to-child ratios: one adult to 4 or less children in Badger Cubs, one adult to 6 children ratio in Badgers. Reception classes have a class teacher and at least one teaching assistant so that each child in the department receives as much adult attention as they need at this age.
Parents are made very welcome in the department and they know that they can talk to staff about any aspect of their child’s learning and development. Parents also know that they can email or telephone staff and have longer discussions. Communication is of key importance when the children are so young.
Different cultures and languages are celebrated wholeheartedly. The children in Badgers investigate a different country every fortnight, exploring the language and cuisine as well as looking at the flag. They are issued a special ‘Badgers Passport’ and this receives a stamp when the unit of activities for the country are completed. In Reception the children begin French lessons with a French specialist. The same teacher continues to teach this subject throughout the PrePrep.
The children spend much of their time learning outside, either in Forest School sessions, or in the Green Fingers Garden, growing and tending vegetables or by using other parts of our glorious 35 acre grounds. Fresh air and fun is a huge part of the Early Years’ experience at Castle Court.
The atmosphere throughout the department is one of warmth and pleasure. Smiling, friendly faces greet a newcomer or visitor in every classroom. The children (and staff) obviously love what they are doing and the children show their enthusiasm for learning by smiling and joining in happily. They shoot up their hands in discussion times and everybody’s opinion and ideas are valued. Achievements both at home and at school are valued and celebrated.
We care very much for the children who, through the staff’s nurturing care, are thriving and happy in our Early Years Department.
BADGER CUBS CLUB
For children aged 3 months to 2 years, we offer a Badger Cubs Club on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning during term time. The activities are varied and include Charlie’s Chimps, Muddy Wellies Forest School, music and movement and free play. Contact the school office for more information. There is no charge for these clubs, but places are limited and allocated on a first come, first served basis.