Early Years

Introduction

At British International School Phuket we run a bespoke Early Years program that draws on the expertise of our highly qualified staff to provide your child with the best possible start in life.

High-quality Early Years education is regarded by education professionals and researchers as the most important factor in equipping students with the lifelong learning skills required to succeed in the classroom. Recent OECD data analysis showed that international students who attended less than one year of an Early Years program were three times as likely to underperform baseline science scores at age 15 when compared with students attending for one year or more. Other benefits that researchers found extended to children developing life-long better eating habits and greater involvement in physical activity.

What researchers found that really matters is that Early Years programs are delivered by highly qualified and passionate teachers who understand a child’s development, low student to adult ratios to ensure that every child has individualized learning opportunities and an engaging and stimulating environment to inspire young minds. At British International School Phuket we are proud to say that our Early Years profession is truly outstanding.

Staff

Our Early Years team is staffed by fully trained and qualified native English speaking teachers who all hold internationally accredited teaching licenses.  This is essential to ensure that our children benefit from the very best teaching practice.  Outstanding and passionate teaching staff are the number one factor in allowing children in Early Years the opportunity to develop emotionally and socially.  Our staff reflects daily to collaboratively plan purposeful and developmentally appropriate learning opportunities. These activities are purposefully introduced through play to inspire children or motivate them through their own interests to develop new skills and attitudes towards learning.

We have a very low staff turnover – with Early Years teachers staying on average for 6 years.  This is really important for creating a sense of family in our school – where children enter Primary School but still have a connection with their teachers from their formative years.  Unusually for Early Years, we are also very fortunate to be able to offer a nice balance of male and female teaching staff.  This is really positive for our students as it means they get to benefit from a variety of role models.

We also have 18 teaching assistants throughout our Early Years who help support children in small groups while given individual attention. These outstanding teaching assistants work closely with and plan with the class teachers so they can help implement the individual teaching plans for children.

Indoor learning space

We have a modern and innovative “classrooms without walls” philosophy at BISP.

Young children learn and engage most effectively when they are free to explore their environment according to their interests. As such we have an open learning space of inter-linked classrooms where our young children have the opportunity to initiate play activities such as creative art, imaginative role-play, inquiry-based investigations, physical development – both gross and fine motor skills and musical play. Our teaching team will then direct this play to help develop learning skills specific to that child.

We also have a dedicated soft-play room which provides a safe environment for children to enjoy being active. This room is also used to extend friendships with other classmates – with children encouraged to “invite” other children outside their friendship group for playdates.

Outdoor learning space

At BISP we believe that young children should have a close connection with nature and as such we have a beautiful garden as our outdoor play area. This is complete with overhanging trees, garden plants, a grassy hill and cheeky Mynah birds. Here students can explore for worms, conduct treasure hunts in the sand pit, ride on the bike track, play on the swings and climbing frame, tend the herbs or play in the mud kitchen. We really value our outdoor learning space and see it as a classroom.

Parent relationships

No one knows a child better than their parents – and so at BISP, we believe in creating and maintaining a very close relationship with our parents. Teachers use the Seesaw application to record student progress across various areas such as personal, emotional and social development, physical development and language ability This also includes some pictures of the students engaged in specific events – such as going on a bear hunt, a sports day race or listening to a story with their teacher. It also includes group or individual observations from their classroom teacher which can be replied to. This provides a sense of continual dialogue with the class teacher – and allows activities to be followed up and enhanced at home.

We work very closely with parents during the ‘settling-in period’ when children first join our Early Years to ensure that this is a smooth transition. Children will first be invited to come to school with their parents for a couple of hours a week so that they can become familiar with the environment and teaching staff. We will then gradually build up the sense of trust so that when they are ready to join they do so with enthusiasm!

We have class parent representatives for each class – which creates a sense of partnership between both teachers and parents. Class representatives help to organise activities that bring parents into the school environment such as the Christmas fair, sports days, swimming galas and International Day. Parents are also invited into the Early Years area to see activities being run so that they can get a better understanding of how their child learns and interacts with the teaching team.

Teachers meet with parents regularly to discuss their child’s progress and their next learning steps.

School day

For Early Years we offer a personalised learning curriculum that acknowledges that all young children develop different skills at different times. Students follow a learning pathway that offers continuity throughout their three years in Early Years. Teachers use the Tapestry application to record student progress across various areas such as personal, emotional and social development, physical development and language ability. This then allows targeted support from the teaching team to progress towards longer-term goals to be met.

We have a specialised Early Years timetable which ensures that transitions and interruptions in the school day are kept to a minimum. Disruption is difficult for young children – and we want to ensure that our students are able to concentrate and engage in activities. Our open-plan classroom layout allows natural transitions as students move from activity to activity at their own pace.