Early Years

Primary School - Phases 1 and 2 
(Early Years - ages 3 to 7)

 
The Primary School is both the longest period of a child’s education and the time when the most connections and discoveries take place. Our Primary School provides a rich and dynamic learning environment for children from the age of 3 to 11 years. To support the children in navigating this learning journey our Primary School is structured into four distinct phases as follows:
 
Phase 1 (ages 3 to 5) Nursery and Kindergarten
 
Phase 2 (ages 5 to 7) Years 1 and 2

 
Phase 3 (ages 7 to 9) Years 3 and 4
 
Phase 4 (ages 9 to 11) Years 5 and 6
 
During this critical time, children learn to read, write and build the foundations of numerical and scientific understandings.
 
To achieve this strong foundation, young learners need to be nurtured in a safe and happy environment, one where they can lead their learning - take risks and make mistakes and learn from every new experience. This is particularly true of learners in the early years (Phases 1 and 2) of Primary School.
 
The curriculum in our early years (Phases 1 and 2) is based on the globally recognised International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). Our PYP is an educational curriculum and philosophy that is authorised and evaluated by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO).
 
The PYP areas of learning are language, mathematics, social studies, science and technology, arts, and personal, social and physical education. In addition, all of our learners will experience  learning in a second language during the programme. This is taught through intensive and immersive daily language tuition from specialist teachers. Families have the option of French or Mandarin. We also celebrate the varied and rich first languages that our learners bring to Nexus – offering a truly international experience to even our youngest learners.



In the early years, the teacher’s role is to mentor the child, providing them opportunities to explore and discover, and to guide them in creation of new knowledge and greater understandings.
 
Combined with the PYP, our teachers consider elements of the Reggio Emilia Approach, which puts the natural development of children as well as the close relationships that they share with their peers and their environment at the center of its philosophy. This educational philosophy is based upon the following set of powerful principles:
 
  • Children must have some control over the direction of their learning;
  • Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, and observing;
  • Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that children must be allowed to explore;
  • Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.

In our early years we have a high adult to learner ratio to ensure that we can provide our learners with the guidance and encouragement they need to lead their learning and we foster an atmosphere where they will want to explore and learn more. Through exciting units of inquiry our learners have opportunities to explore, observe, hypothesize, question, and discuss to clarify their understanding.

Learning in our Nursery and Kindergarten (Phase 1) classes is through a mixture of teacher-directed and child-initiated play activities. We give high priority to the process of learning through practical, first-hand experiences. Well-planned play both inside and outside, is a key way in which early years children learn with enjoyment and challenge. We also provide opportunities for children to record and develop early reading, writing and number skills with creative and imaginative adult support.

In Years 1 and 2 (Phase 2), group activities remain a key feature of the learning environment with practical, first-hand experiences still used to reinforce increasingly abstract concepts. By the end of the early years (Phases 1 and 2) we aim for learners to see themselves as readers, confident and fluent and keen to explore increasingly challenging texts and genres. In writing and maths too, we aim for learners to have a strong foundation in the ‘basics’ (eg: number bonds, sentence structure) on which to build.

Digital technology is used in the early years (Phases 1 and 2) to enhance active and creative learning. For example, learners may explore their environment and use an i-pad to photograph the varying habitats of animals or they may take a video and add a commentary to explain how a material changes when it is heated. Learners will not be encouraged to be passive ‘consumers’ of digital technology, such as using ‘educational games’. 

Throughout these early years, we model positive relationships in an environment where children have high levels of independence, self-esteem and self-confidence. Throughout the school, and particularly in these early years, we encourage strong parent-school relationship where parents feel their contribution is valued.