The gateway to your child’s learning journey, selecting the right Foundation Stage environment requires some parent prep
27 September 2018| Last updated on 4 October 2018
Choosing the right learning environment is daunting as the parent of an infant and entering Foundation Stage is a big step for all the family.
“Education is flooded with acronyms and terminology that can make the process seem overwhelming for parents, particularly if this is a first step or for those looking for a school outside of the country of origin,” says Ashleigh Thompson, Deputy Head Teacher, Kings’ School Nad Al Sheba.
For very young children, she advises prospective parents to draw up a list of questions that cover all the bases.
“For example, what is the staff to child ratio and what qualifications does the teaching and support staff need to hold? Obviously, the younger the child, the fewer children should be allocated to each qualified adult and being aware of academic qualifications, professional training certification and first aid capabilities is extremely important,” she says.
Questions should also drill down to the finer details, such as timetabling, so that parents have a clear idea of how much time is structured by adults and how involved their child is in leading their own learning.
Adds Ashleigh: “Research shows that children learn more from educational activities that support their own interests and ideas, and it’s also important that they spend time outside to develop physical skills and engage in appropriate ‘risk taking’ by being able to jump, climb and run.”
And for the smallest of learners there are always the practicalities to consider when it comes to their independence and in-school support.
For example, does the child need to be fully toilet trained, is there help with dressing and undressing, eating, basic self-care, and is there provision for children who still sleep during the day?
Once your child is part of the Kings’ School Nad Al Sheba family, parents obviously want to know how their child is developing and thriving in a school environment.
Sam Holliday is Assistant Head Teacher in charge of assessment and data for Kings’ School Nad Al Sheba, and he stresses the relevance of the assessment process in shaping learning, teaching and curriculum.
“Assessments are an important and powerful tool, and even before your child starts with us, we carry out an Assessment of Educational Need to determine exactly what support and challenge each child would benefit from,” he says.
“Once in school, our teachers use day-to-day strategies to determine how pupils are progressing through a specific learning process as well as using a summative assessment to determine the depth of pupil knowledge and application at the end of a unit or particular topic,” he concludes.
Deputy Head Teacher
Kings’ School Nad Al Sheba