At ESH, our children and families are warmly welcomed into a specialised learning environment that supports the play and learning of the Early Years children, prior to the children’s entry into the Primary section of the school. It is a multi-cultural, multi lingual community, enabling the children to play and learn alongside different languages and cultures in a spirit of community. The Early Years curriculum is play-based; aiming to facilitate the learning of the knowledge and skills and experiences required by the children for the formal curriculum that they will follow in the Primary cycle.
The Early Years classes are co-located so that the children have opportunity to play and mingle together indoors and outdoors in the playground. Children lunch together in the canteen and classes join together for special visitors or excursions to places of interest which support their learning. There is also ‘Friendship Zone’ where the children focus and share learning and play in mixed cultural groups.
Young children learn through experimentation, exploration and play where subject areas are not separated. Early Learning is a fundamental part of life-long learning. Play is the highest form of research and the brain’s favourite way of learning. All children are born as creative beings; learning through their senses; curious about the world and keen to experiment and discover new things. Play helps children to socialise, to wonder, to think, to feel and to make sense of the world around them. At ESH holistic teaching and learning occur through play with hands-on experiences; interesting, creative and engaging learning environments; numerous materials and resources and passionate Early Years Teachers and Teaching Assistants.
Besides the Early Years class teachers and teacher assistants, the children have specialist teachers for PE, Music and Mother Tongue. The school has a Support Section with specialist expertise to support the Early Years children when necessary.
Parent support and involvement in the Early Years is valued. Each class has one or two Parent representatives who coordinate and support the class activities during the year. Parents and grandparents often offer support by visiting class to help with cooking or reading activities, sharing special items from home or coming in to talk to the children about an interest, hobby or job. These home and school links are valuable in supporting the social, emotional and cognitive development of the children. The collaborative relationship between home and school is vital for the success of each child’s well-being and learning. Young children benefit greatly from the close understanding, clear communication and the respectful, supportive relationship between home and school.