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Beginnings JSD Essentials | 1 Internationally British

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Beginnings The start of a new adventure… So the time has finally arrived for your child to start school – whether it is your first child, second, or third, this is always a momentous occasion in the life of any family. Our aim at the BSN is to make the first steps of your child’s school adventure as smooth, positive and happy as possible. For some children, this will be their first experience of spending time without either of their parents, others will be transitioning from a day care system. Some children may be fluent in English, whilst others may not speak a word. No matter what the situation, every child is special and individual. Our teachers and teaching assistants are excited and ready to ensure that your child is looked after, cared for and welcomed into our school.

You will, no doubt, have many questions and we hope that there are answers to some of them within this brochure. Other questions and queries will be personal to you and your family, so please feel free to come and talk with us. We all want to make sure that your child develops a love of learning and makes rapid progress in their personal, social, emotional and physical development as well as their communication and language abilities. In addition to these important aspects of child development the foundation stage curriculum helps the children develop literacy, mathematics, expressive arts and design skills, as well as their understanding of the world around them. We believe that the relationship between teachers and parents is fundamental in providing the very best opportunities for young children to flourish and grow in confidence and knowledge. Our aim is to work together with you to ensure that your child gets the very best start in their education. Communication is very important to us all and it is through getting to know you and your children that we regularly share the successes of their learning journey, enabling each child to become the best they can be. Beginnings | 3

Starting school The first two years of school within the British system are known as the Foundation Stage. The first year (Foundation 1) is for 3 to 4 year olds and was traditionally known as the Nursery Class. Children can join Foundation 1 after they are 3 years old. Foundation 2 is for children aged 4 to 5 years old. Children need to have turned 4 by 1 September, to join this year group. The table opposite provides more details on entry dates.

Full or part week We are aware that some parents would like the opportunity for a more gradual start to full time schooling, especially in cases where children may be particularly young in their year group, or may be unused to such a structured environment away from home. With this in mind, we have introduced a ‘part week’ attendance option. Within each Foundation 1 class, a limited number of places will be available to accommodate a pattern of either three days per week or two days per week attendance. The attendance patterns on offer are as follows: Five days | Monday to Friday Three days | Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Two days | Thursday and Friday The costs for a part week attendance are fixed on a pro-rata basis. We hope that this structure will provide some helpful options for those parents looking for more a more flexible attendance pattern.

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Early and standard start The standard entry into Foundation 1 is the September following your childs third birthday. Early starts are also an option, if your childs third birthday falls between 1 September and 31 December, they’ll be able to start in the

following Spring term; if their birthday is between 1 January and 31 March they can join at the start of the Summer term; if their third birthday is between 1 April and 31 May they’ll be able to start after the following Summer half term.

Age of admission for Foundation Stage Age Year Group 3–4 Foundation 1 early start

Age of admission Child’s third birthday between 1 September and 31 December Can start in the Spring term or later Child will spend up to five terms in Foundation 1 Child’s third birthday between 1 January and 31 March Can start in the Summer term or later Child will spend up to four terms in Foundation 1

Child’s third birthday between 1 April and 31 May Can start directly after third birthday or after Summer half term Child will spend up to three and a half terms in Foundation 1 Foundation 1 Child’s third birthday between 1 June and 31 August standard start Can start the following September Child will spend standard three terms in Foundation 1 4–5 Foundation 2

Child needs to have turned four before 1 September to join year group

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The Early Years Curriculum Both years within the Foundation Stage are based around a specialist early years curriculum made up of the 7 areas below:  ersonal, Social and Emotional Development •P C •  ommunication and Language  hysical Development •P  iteracy •L M •  athematics  nderstanding the World •U  xpressive Arts and Design •E

Personal, Social and Emotional Development In both Foundation 1 and Foundation 2 we spend a lot of time working on each child’s personal, social and emotional development. We help children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; form positive relationships; learn how to respect others; develop social skills; manage their own feelings; understand appropriate group behaviour and develop confidence in their own abilities. Throughout both Foundation 1 and Foundation 2 teachers regularly set aside time in the day during which the children sit together to develop their communication skills. The children are encouraged to listen to each other, take turns in speaking and become confident when working in a social group situation. This is, of course difficult for some children, and so our staff use a range of teaching techniques to create a safe environment in which each child can learn and succeed. Personal, social and emotional development also includes unaided dressing and undressing, working alone or in groups and developing the confidence to try new things and handle unfamiliar situations.

Communication and Language This vital area of development focuses on providing the children with a rich tapestry of learning experiences that develop their language abilities, confidence and skills. For children, developing language is all about having the 6 | Beginnings

confidence to try to express themselves along with the patience to listen to others in a wide range of different situations. Further information about the development of language skills for non-English speakers can be found later on in this booklet and in a separate detailed publication from the school.

Physical Development A young child’s physical development is very important and so the staff provide all sorts of exciting opportunities for the children to be active, interactive and energetic. They have plenty of planned learning experiences that help them develop their co-ordination, balance, control and movement. They are taught to understand the importance of life long physical activity, as part of a person’s all-round wellbeing, along with making healthy choices in relation to the food they eat.

Literacy This area of the curriculum is planned to encourage and support children to link sounds and letters together, helping them take the first steps towards reading and writing. All children develop at their own pace and so the staff are careful to ensure that those who are ready for reading and writing at an early age are given every opportunity to develop these important skills. Other children who need more time to grasp the foundations of reading and who need to spend longer mastering the basics are given time, support and lots of encouragement to succeed.

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Expressive Arts and Design

Children enjoy solving problems and the learning we invite them to take part in within Mathematics provides all sorts of stimulating opportunities to develop and improve their thinking and reasoning skills. This is done through counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems, identifying shapes and calculating spaces and measurements, in a very practical and visual way.

Exploring and playing with a range of media and materials is a wonderful way for young children to discover their artistic flair. This area of the curriculum provides the children with opportunities to share their own ideas, thoughts and feelings, through exciting activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design and technology.

Understanding the World Helping children to make sense of their physical world and their community through the opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment is a key aspect of learning for young children. The staff plan the curriculum to include a range of exciting topics that fire up children’s natural curiosity, interest and imagination.

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Developing language skills The BSN draws children from all over the world who contribute to the Internationally British school ethos that we are known for and which enables young children to grow and develop as successful learners. The children who join us have a wide range of knowledge, skills and fluency in the English language. The staff are very experienced in managing this so that each child is supported and helped to settle in as quickly as possible.

English as an Additional Language (EAL) EAL is a phrase used by teachers to refer to children who speak, listen to, or use a language other than English to communicate at home. We encourage you, as parents, to talk to your child about the fact that they will hear all sorts of different languages at school. Our classroom teachers and teaching assistants are skilled in helping non-English speakers of all levels to progress and develop their English by providing them with all sorts of engaging activities. For children in Foundation 2 there is also additional support from specialist EAL teachers available who provide support tailored to the age and needs of the children. These specialists work closely with the class teachers

to plan and deliver learning experiences which reflect a class topic or area of learning. The extent of the EAL support ranges from small groups or individual tuition, through to general support in the classroom from specialist teachers. These programmes are designed to ensure that, wherever possible, children remain involved with the day-to-day activities of their class. As the children’s ability and confidence in English increases, the level of EAL support is adapted accordingly. At such a young age, we do not recommend additional English lessons after school. Instead, we would encourage occasional non-formal learning such as having English speaking friends over to play, watching English speaking television or joining an English speaking sports or activity club at the weekend. It is most important that the child’s first language is maintained and that you continue to speak and enjoy your mother tongue language at home. EAL information opportunities are available during the first term of the school year, where parents are invited to an information session to meet with the EAL teacher and discuss their child’s language background.

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Supporting mother tongue We strongly encourage parents to continue speaking to children at home in their mother tongue. If your child is already used to hearing a particular language we encourage you to continue with it. We believe that children need to continue learning about the world and as such should be encouraged to ask questions; tell stories; describe things; count and solve problems – all in their mother tongue. At the BSN, children will be exposed to spoken and written English all day. Introducing something new at the home in a child’s mother tongue can help children to learn that same topic or concept in English and supporting your child in this way can have a very positive effect on your child’s linguistic development.

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To help with the development of children’s mother tongue language skills, throughout their learning journey, the BSN offers an extensive After School Language Clubs Programme. Children in Foundation 1 and 2, however, are often far too tired after school to cope with this additional input, so these clubs are available for children in Year 1 and above.

Assessment As children adjust to class routines and settle into life in their new school, the teaching staff assess each child’s individual level of understanding through a range of assessment techniques. In Foundation 2, we establish a Baseline Assessment from which we can measure the progress that children make. Regular parent teacher consultations offer us an opportunity to talk about the progress that each child is making and discuss the next steps on their learning journey.

Good behaviour The development of positive behaviour is an important part of a child’s personal, social and emotional development in the foundation stage We have many ways in which we celebrate and recognise and reward good behaviour such as Trees of Kindness, Certificates, Golden Chairs or Special Helpers and Special Notes Home. These techniques help to encourage children to follow the school’s rules:

Being helpful We encourage all children to take responsibility for tidying up and setting tables for their morning snack and lunchtime as well as looking after their own coat and bag. Each day a different child is chosen as the ‘Special Helper’ who takes responsibility for helping the teachers with tasks such as taking the register to the office and checking the weather. This helps to provide the children with a sense of involvement and achievement.

School routines One of the best ways to ensure that a child is as relaxed and confident as possible about coming to school is to make sure both you and they understand the school routines. A recognisable routine helps a child to settle in easily and feel secure about their new environment. Some children will find it more difficult to be separated from their parents than others. This is not something to worry about, our teachers and teaching assistants are very experienced in dealing with this situation. The start of the school day can sometimes be quite emotional for the children as well as parents. We encourage parents to leave their children within a couple of minutes after entering the classroom. It is one of the most effective ways of helping the children settle quickly.

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Ready for the day

Snack and lunch

The start of the day’s learning is crucial so we make sure that the classroom is set up to provide children with immediate access to learning equipment and games as soon as they enter the classroom. Once everyone has arrived, teachers spend time talking to the children together about the day’s activities. This is an important time for the children as it’s an opportunity for them to share news, find out what day it is or what the weather is like.

We encourage healthy eating in our school both for snack and lunch. Children in all years bring in their own healthy snack and packed lunch from home which is eaten in small supervised groups in the classroom. Due to potential food allergies, we do not allow peanuts or peanut-based products in school. Please note that we do not have any facilities to warm food.  

Rest time in Foundation 1 At this age children are constantly on the go, so in their first term Foundation 1 children are encouraged to rest after lunchtime play so they can recharge their batteries in preparation for a busy afternoon. Story sessions, free choice activities outside the classroom and quiet corners are some of the ways in which we can help the children in Foundation 1 to relax.

Home time Home time is a very important time of day for a child, full of important things to tell and show about what they have done in school. We strongly encourage parents to make time to listen to their child’s stories from the day. Home time is also the perfect opportunity for parents to engage in a brief informal conversation with their child’s teacher.

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Settling in... Starting school is an exciting time for both parents and children. Our teachers are very experienced in helping and understanding the different emotions children may feel about this process and therefore do everything they can to help each child settle in as quickly as possible. To ensure that the first few weeks in school run smoothly and happily, we have a tailored induction periods Each child that joins us is an individual with differing needs, our staff will work with you to make the start of school as successful as possible. Working together helps us all achieve a happy, gentle transition from the home environment into the new class.

Foundation 1 – Induction For Foundation 1 children who are starting school for the first time in September, an induction programme is in place. The induction period will involve a gradual increase to the length of time spent at school each day and will be tailored to the individual needs of children dependent on their readiness for full time education. Our experienced staff will liaise with you directly about the best way to induct your child into school.

For Foundation 1 children who are returning in September (having previously attended F1 as an ‘early entry’ student) a ‘re-start’ programme is in place which understandably takes into account the fact that children have previously been attending school. The class teachers will talk with parents to let them know what the ‘re-start’ programme will involve before the summer term ends. For Foundation 1 children starting school for the first time at other points in the school year, a personal induction programme is arranged on an individual basis.

Foundation 2 – Induction For Foundation 2 children starting school for the first time in September, an induction programme is in place. It starts with a half day attendance and builds up to full time attendance. For Foundation 2 children starting school for the first time at other points in the school year a personal induction programme is arranged, as necessary, on an individual basis.

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Practical Information

The Foundation areas in all our schools have been built and designed so that toilets are attached to each class, allowing children to use the facilities easily whenever they need to.

Toilet training


All children need to be able to use the toilet independently before they can start in Foundation 1. We fully understand however that at this age accidents happen and our staff are very experienced in dealing with these situations sensitively and quickly.

Foundation 1 children attend school in their own clothes but once children move into Foundation 2 they wear the BSN school uniform which is available from the Uniform Shop. Most children are very excited to move into their uniform and look forward to the first day of Foundation 2 with great enthusiasm as a result.

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School bus for Foundation 2 Children in Foundation 1 are not permitted to use the school bus service. Children in Foundation 2 can make use of the school bus service after the October half-term. These children are provided with a special training session in which they are shown how to get on and off the bus safely, how to use a seat belt and learn the rules of riding on the bus. If a child is using the bus service, we strongly encourage a parent to still try to come into school on occasion, as it is helpful for teachers to have personal contact with all parents at regular points throughout the year.

More information If you have any other questions about our Early Years Foundation Stage provision, or you would like to visit the school, we would be happy to help. Please just contact the Admissions Department on 070 315 4077 and we will be happy to arrange a personal appointment for you. You can also email us on

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The British School in The Netherlands (Official) @BSNetherlands

BSN Admissions Department Leidschenveen Campus Vrouw Avenweg 640 2493 WZ Den Haag Telephone: +31 (0)70 315 4077 Fax: +31 (0)70 315 4078 Email:

BSN Beginnings 2016-17  
BSN Beginnings 2016-17