Claremont Nursery and Pre-Prep’s Head, Rachel Potter, talk through their early years offerings and how their younger pupils are prepared for joining big school

How integrated is the nursery with the rest of the school? Our happy and very busy nursery is situated on the main prep school site, sharing over 100 acres of glorious grounds and woodland with all children up to Year 8. Older nursery children have their French lessons in the main school house so they are used to seeing and being around the older children, and find themselves in familiar surroundings when they eventually move up to ‘big school’. To further aid transition, our new Early Years and Pre-Prep building deliberately houses Preschool age children and those up to Year 3, all under one roof. 

Can you talk us through the different stages?
Our nursery facilities, ‘free flow’ layout and weekly timetable have all been carefully designed to encourage and support the ongoing physical, emotional, mental and social development of three distinct stages; babies and toddlers, two- to three-year-olds and our preschoolers. To ensure strong levels of progress and development at every stage, we focus on maintaining a home-from-home environment, where every child feels happy, secure and keen to start a new adventure each day. Whatever age children join the nursery, we are essentially one big happy family.

Tell us about the Yoga… We are extremely lucky to have a fully qualified Yoga teacher who uses a combination of her yoga and Early Years Montessori experience to deliver classes that are joyful as well as educational. It is a much anticipated part of the week as we see first hand the wonderful calming effect it has on the children, and how their growing levels of self esteem, concentration and perseverance are transferred back into the classroom.  The sun salutation always puts a big smile on our faces and by the end, the children often express an overwhelming sense of achievement!

How is nature incorporated into the EYFS offering?
We are blessed with extensive grounds, magical gardens and a truly enchanting forest so outdoor learning is an integral part of the nursery week. Tending to the plants and vegetables in the Jubilee garden and cooking up culinary masterpieces in the nursery mud kitchen are a daily occurrence, whilst our preschoolers venture out into the woods each week with our specialist Forest School leader for team building activities, close up encounters with bugs, and to discover everything the natural world can teach us. 01424 751555

Speaking Sense

Mike Piercy, education consultant and former Head of The New Beacon, turns language pupil A favourite word: smellfungus. A favourite book: The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (two weighty tomes). A favourite pursuit: looking up a word, getting distracted by other,...

Perfect Pitch

Mike Piercy, education consultant and former Head of The New Beacon, sings the praises of music in education What exactly is it that drives parents to make huge sacrifices by sending their children to independent schools? Different families have different...

‘It’s not fair!’

Mike Piercy, education consultant and former Head of The New Beacon, explains the importance of winning and losing with good grace The beefy second row lay prone, groaning, as the pack lumbered away. “Get up, Darling!” I cried. Opposition spectators...