Small School (Reception)

We launched our Small School in the Woods (Reception Year) in response to parent requests for their children to remain in this sort of natural environment for another year. Also, because Norfolk schools are now more open to children (especially younger Summer birthdays) deferring starting in mainstream Reception until the September after their 5th birthday.

Children up to the age of 7 learn through movement - our children will be physically as well as mentally active and based in a wonderful natural environment. The number of children will also be much lower than maintained primary school. Also if you believe Reception Year should not be part of a mainstream primary school; it is meant to be a play-based curriculum (EYFS 0 - 5 years), yet successive Governments over recent decades have pushed for lowering the age when children begin school. Our approach, which we are extending into a reception year, puts the child at the very centre and believes them to be capable and competent individuals. A child in our Reception will be discovering the world through their own eyes, with support from capable and caring adults and spending a great deal of time moving and being outside!

Will it still be a combination of Montessori and Forest School? The simple answer is yes. The slightly longer one is that we have created our own approach to early years: which includes the strong self-learning literacy and numeracy capabilities of Montessori, the physicality, creativity and focus on nature of Forest School, together with the premise from Reggio Emilia of the powerful child at its very heart. Through child-led interests and projects, supported by our staff’s observations and input, the children will more than cover the requirements of the EYFS.

Does Reception group have their own teacher? Yes, we have our own Montessori Teacher, Hannah Liu. The children spend time in the Walled Garden to access the art studio, the garden and the chickens with our Garden Educators etc. as well as time in the tipi which is our Montessori classroom. They will also be out exploring in the woods as much as possible! The maximum number of children will be 12.

What are the hours? Having spoken with parents over the last few years, it is clear that most parents are looking to extend both the TCG experience AND the hours/days for their children after they turn 4. So we operate within the same nursery hours of Monday to Friday 7.45am - 6.15pm. We do welcome term-time only children as well (3 terms of 12 or 13 weeks + half-terms charged for).

How much does it cost?
Exactly the same as our standard nursery fees.
If your child only attends during term-time the invoices are monthly, in order to spread the cost, and for 11 months of the year (nothing in August).

4 Year Old Funding:

These are our standard nursery funded fees, which include the Govt funding. There are no additional Forest School fees to pay.

Please contact TCG Norwich accounts on for further details.

When did it start? We began our Small School Reception journey in September 2019.

What are the term dates?
38 weeks of the year - please ask for exact details

There is more information in our FAQ document attached.

Have a look at some Children's Garden Small School pictures here