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 space & teacher? Yes, we have our own outdoors-inspired teacher, Daisy Camplin (pictured), who is a qualified Teacher as well as Forest School Leader. The children still 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 with our Montessori Teacher, Nikki, in the tipi. The maximum number of children will be 16.
What are the hours? It is term-time only (3 terms of 12 weeks) and is currently running on a 3-day week: Monday, Wednesday & Friday. We are hoping to offer 5 days a week at some point. Small School hours are 8.45am to 3.45pm, although we will offer before and after school to make it easier for working parents. Children can still attend the nursery on Tuesdays and Thursdays if required and be with the older Forest School & Montessori children. Children can also attend the nursery in the holidays for those parents who require full-time childcare.
How much does it cost? £52 per day* (including lunch, snacks & all Forest School charges). Before & After School is £10 to extend to 7.45 - 6.15pm. *Provided your child has not yet started in a maintained school eg part-time, then they can still access the Govt funding until the beginning of the term after their 5th birthday. So many children will still be able to claim funding for some or all of their Reception Year with us, which will reduce the cost.
Term-time only costs including 4 Year Old Funding: If in receipt of 30 hours extended funding then the daily cost for the school hours falls to £27 per day and we are able to provide the Before & After School care for just £5. If in receipt of the Universal 15 Hours funding then the daily cost is £34 and the standard £10 charge for Before & After School. Please contact TCG Norwich accounts on firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
When did it start? We began our Small School Reception journey in September 2019.
What are the term dates?
Autumn 2020: Monday September 7th to Friday December 18th (Half Term week October 26th to 30th)Spring 2021: Monday Jan 4th to Friday March 26th (Half-term week February 15th to 19th)
Summer 2021: Monday April 19th to Friday July 19th (Half-term week May 31st to June 4th)