Written by Sue Aspinall and Lucy Wood
In the Netherlands, children can start school from the age of 4 although it is not compulsory until the age of 5. In this article, we explain the benefits of starting your child’s educational journey in an Early Year’s setting from the age of 3 and providing those first important steps to independent learning.
1. Creating a special bond with every child
Staff working in Early Year’s programmes know that by prioritising working in partnership with you as parents, a strong, positive relationship can be established which will ensure your child is supported to the best of their abilities. Your child is unique and the connection that Early Year’s teachers build with you enables them to understand the needs and wants of your child, developing a deep knowledge of their distinctive development journey. The Early Year’s teachers continually learn and communicate what is currently sparking each child’s interests, what their likes and dislikes are, and their ups and downs. Smooth transitions to an Early Years setting are built on the foundations of secure relationships with all the caring, nurturing adults.
2. A sense of belonging
Your child will flourish within an enabling, focused environment. Through creating a sense of belonging and letting children explore, take risks, try out new activities and interact positively with others, Early Year’s provision will significantly contribute to your child’s well-being, identity and security.
3. The highest calibre of staff
As a pivotal educational phase, Early Years staff have access to specialised professional training and development online and face to face within The Hague. Most Early Year’s settings will make sure that they invest in the continual development of the teachers and teaching assistants so that they continue to provide truly great teaching to improve your child’s development, progress and positive experiences at school. This kind of investment means that your child benefits from the latest educational learning and expertise.
4. Role models and routines
Being in a nurturing Early Year’s environment and following a regular routine and structure to their day, helps children transition seamlessly into their life of learning at school. Younger children hugely benefit from being surrounded by older children as role models. Most schools have a values-based set of principles, which inherently weave through everything done within the school; these tend to centre on principles such as compassion, curiosity, creativity, courage, environmental integrity, perseverance, digital responsibility and collaboration.
5. An internationally-recognised curriculum
Your child will confidently develop through the active learning, play and exploration provided by the framework of the practice of the Early Year’s setting. Most settings following a framework similar to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum framework which was developed in the UK. Learning through play is a central principle. Children within Early Year’s settings have the freedom to explore the world around them in a safe and stimulating environment. These are constantly enhanced and adapted in order to maximise the growth and varying needs and achievements of the children attending. Most Early Year’s settings have an outdoor area which is an important part of the environment for children to take risks, explore the natural world, innovate, laugh and connect with other children.
Sue Aspinall and Lucy Wood, are the Head and Deputy Headteacher of Junior School Vlaskamp, one of three international primary schools belonging to the British School in the Netherlands in The Hague. Students are able to start school straight after their third birthday. The campus benefits from award-winning indoor and outdoor facilities, specifically designed for young learners.
Contact our Admissions Team for more information and to plan a visit to one of our Junior Campuses.