They’re still so young, baby-faced, and taking their very first steps into primary education. So why consider an all-through independent school like Ashville College when it’s such early days?
In September 2021, Ashville College relaunched its early years provision for two to five-year-olds. Called Ashville Acorns Pre-Prep, it encompasses Little Acorns for two to three-year-olds, Acorns for three to four-year-olds, and Reception class for four to five-year-olds. Now we are into the second half of the Autumn term and our children across the age groups are thriving.
We do appreciate that parents choosing a Reception class for their child have a very big job on their hands. There are so many factors to consider and it can be difficult to think further ahead at academic provision or a School’s other qualities when they’re still so young. Children change so much as they develop and at this stage their key academic and co-curricular strengths and interests may not yet have revealed themselves. This takes time, and the right academic and pastoral support. There are so many great schools out there, so it can be hard to know what to look for.
A good first start is to visit as many institutions as possible – in person now that circumstances allow. Ask yourself: do I feel comfortable here? Is it the right fit for my child? Are the staff keen to get to know my child and what makes them tick? After all, at this stage in your child’s education, you choose the School; it does not choose you.
Listen to and respect the expertise of the staff. As a Pre-Prep School, we are focused on early learning and preparing children for school life, and each one of our staff, from our most experienced to our recent graduates, has their own insights, expertise and special contribution to make to the education of your child. You should hear staff talking passionately about their job. Early learning is probably the most important part of education, with research that suggests that children learn more between the age of zero and six than at any other time of their lives.
Ask yourself – how does the School I’m considering stand out? We can help you here at Ashville Acorns Pre-Prep – check out our five ‘best bits’ about our Reception class:
1. Highly experienced teaching and support
We have an exceptional team of teachers and early years professionals, led by Mrs Charlotte Cryer, Head of Ashville Acorns Pre-Prep. She has 27 years of knowledge and experience in a wide range of early years settings and was appointed in 2021 to relaunch the Early Years Foundation Stages (EYFS) provision for Ashville’s youngest children. In addition, Reception pupils often benefit from the specialist input of teachers from Ashville Senior School, who are happy to share their expertise where needed, such as in PE, Music, Spanish and for specific Topic work.
2. Exciting co-curricular opportunities
Further to the dedicated activities run by the Ashville Acorns Pre-Prep team, Reception is the access point for the wider College’s Co-Curricular Programme of exciting and diverse lunchtime and after school activities and clubs. Participation complements classroom learning and provides lasting memories and experiences. Options for Reception include Swimming, Ballet, Speech and Drama, and Animal Care Club.
3. A key component of Ashville Acorns Pre-Prep
Because Reception class follows EYFS, it is a component part of our dedicated Ashville Acorns Pre-Prep provision. This is where our Acorns or new Ashville starters mount a springboard for ‘bigger school’, experiencing a smooth, gentle transition from pre-school learning to more structured school life in Year 1 and beyond. At playtime they have the opportunity to socialise with Year 1 and Year 2 pupils, making for a more natural onward transition into Prep School. While there is a strong focus on Maths and English in Reception, learning is still very much play-based, with a good balance of child-initiated and adult-led activities. Pupils will feel like they are playing, while we as teachers know there is a reason behind every activity we do. Seven areas of learning are covered through EYFS, ranging from communication and language to expressive arts and design.
4. A strong focus on parent partnership
Sustaining the magic of childhood is a joint effort. We are acutely aware of the importance of positive parental partnership and have genuine appreciation for parents as their child’s first and most enduring educators. Parents can expect a wide range of support and contact, from our warm welcome and daily face-to-face contact, to regular feedback on your child’s progress to events throughout the year involving the wider family, including grandparents’ days and Baby Acorns events.
5. Being part of ‘One Ashville’
Reception is a valued part of the Ashville family of schools, and the start of the learning journey for many of our pupils. Being part of a bigger school goes beyond the high-quality facilities and green space Reception pupils have access to. The sense of aspiration is tangible when our youngest children glimpse ‘the big boys and girls’ in their maroon blazers or smart Sixth Form attire. It’s super special to see our youngest children progress through the School, with many leaving the Sixth Form as accomplished, ‘future ready’ young adults.
The size of our school means every child, no matter their age or ability, is known by name, nurtured and supported to become the best version of themselves. That starts from day one.
Mrs Cryer said: “We are delighted at how far we’ve come since relaunching in September. The team, led by our Reception class teacher, has done an incredible job at revitalising the learning environment and the children are thriving. They follow a well-planned timetable of lessons in a light, airy, well-resourced classroom. We look forward to welcoming new parents in to see our facilities and what we offer in person.”