Deputy Head & Head of Early Years at Parkside School, Mrs Madeline McMurdo explains how to ease a child into their first experiences of school

Can you tell us a little about your pre-school offering at Parkside?

Parkside nursery is a place for children to feel safe, happy and nurtured. Situated in a large secure building within the stunning Parkside grounds, the nursery has spacious classrooms, a library, music room, interactive whiteboard and lovely outdoor areas. The children are taught by experienced Early Years staff, enjoying a rich and exciting learning environment in which they are stimulated and challenged through a variety of experiences. They all flourish under specialist teaching in forest school, music, French, swimming and sport with the teachers from the Prep School.

How many sessions are recommended for each year group?

The 2-3 year olds are required to do a minimum of two morning sessions and the 3-4 year olds build up from three mornings in the autumn, to four mornings and an afternoon in the spring, to the final term of five mornings and two afternoons. A morning session is from 8.30am to 12pm with the option to stay for lunch until 1.30pm in the school salon, which is extremely popular. A full day ends at 3pm with wrap around care until 6pm.

Can you explain the goals of the Early Years curriculum and what you focus on?

At Parkside Nursery, the focus is on teaching core skills, independence and confidence to prepare them for the transition to reception. With a planned curriculum, balanced between adult-led and child-initiated activities, children develop enquiring minds, fully explore their curiosity and gain a love of learning and questioning. We focus on all of the 7 areas of learning with importance placed on good listening, kindness, collaboration and respect for themselves, each other and the school.

Parkside School is a boys’ school, are girls able to access your nursery provision?

Yes, the nursery is co-educational and girls enjoy a full and varied curriculum from the age of 2. The ratio of girls to boys is 40/60, with many siblings of boys in the school. Girls transition to local girls’ schools, notably Notre Dame, Manor House or Rowan.

What happens at parent and toddler club and who can join?

Parent and toddler club runs weekly for children registered to start nursery after their second birthday. It is an opportunity for the children to familiarise themselves with the nursery environment, the grounds, the teachers and the key workers. It’s also a time for the parents to meet each other in a relaxed setting, as their children enjoy and engage in play. Each week there is a planned adult-led activity for the children to enjoy and time to explore the grounds.

What do you think makes the nursery extra special?

Happiness is the key to learning, which underpins the ethos at Parkside. With space to grow and staff who care, all the children thrive, feel loved and secure and develop a hunger for learning. What can be better than being in a nursery within a school, set in 45 acres of stunning woodland, with extensive facilities: a swimming pool, large gym, music room, salon, forest school area and much more for all the nursery children to use and enjoy. Come and visit to see for yourself.

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