The Importance of a High Quality Early Years Education

By That's Shanghai, August 1, 2022

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Children learn and develop more from birth to five years old than in any other time in their lives, so it is essential that children in Early Years are fully supported in developing the skills which enable them to become lifelong learners.

We're talking about resilience, the confidence to face challenges, to think creatively and work in collaboration with others.

At Britannica International School Shanghai, they pride themselves on combining an inspirational learning environment with a kind and caring community. One that recognizes that each child is unique and on their own learning journey.

And all the while delivering the best of British Education.

Start as You Mean to Go On

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Many parents believe it is best for their children to graduate from a kindergarten in a local program before applying to Britannica. This is not the case.

This would mean that the child would enter Britannica in Year 2. However, in the British Curriculum, Year 1 is well designed for children aged 5-6 both cognitively and physically, with a more structured timetable than a local kindergarten, fully preparing a student for smooth transition to primary.

Additionally, in the British Curriculum, children start phonics in Reception – the equivalent to the second year of kindergarten in the local system – meaning students who join in Year 2 might struggle without extra EAL support.

For these reasons Britannica advise applying early – Nursery or Reception.

Smaller Class Sizes

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A huge plus factor at Britannica is the smaller class sizes of 12-15 pupils (and often lower). It truly allows a personalized learning approach, meeting the needs of each child, supporting their well-being, and challenging them to maximize their progress.

High quality child-adult interactions are key in supporting children’s development and identifying their next steps in their learning journey, and the school places great importance upon these.

Britannica's impressively high teacher retention rate also makes for a stable environment for young learners.

READ MORE: This School Has Already Secured 100% Teaching Staff for Next Year

Curriculum & Well-being

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At Britannica, they deliver the British Early Years Curriculum, which enables learners to develop personal attributes such as:

  • Respect

  • Resilience

  • Independence

  • Making positive relationships

The Curriculum has a focus on developing children’s social, emotional, communication and physical skills. The skills acquired in these areas underpin the foundation for an education in:

  • Maths

  • Literacy

  • Science

  • Art

Britannica fosters a safe and nurturing environment that supports the children in developing as a whole: physically, socially, emotionally and academically.

Purposeful Play

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Britannica utilizes purposeful play opportunities so that children are able to explore, discover and develop new skills independently. Children learn through their own initiative, curiosity and interests.

Learning environments are carefully designed and created by the school's experienced Early Years teachers to ensure that they allow for children to make connections with their own knowledge, whilst having opportunities to develop and extend their thinking both independently and collaboratively.

Outdoor Learning

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Britannica places high value on the benefits of outdoor learning, and each classroom in Early Years has access to an outdoor learning area.

Taking learning outdoors allows children to further develop confidence and self-esteem, supporting their key developmental skills in problem solving and critical thinking.

Going beyond the classroom also allows for learners to have an understanding of their individual role as a Global Citizen in our world.

Within the safe outdoor areas at Britannica, children are able to explore, take risks and to respect and take care of their environment.

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Living in a city such as Shanghai, it is difficult at times for children to have access to a ‘real’ outdoor environment and to gain an understanding of seasonal changes and the nature in our world.

The school's Eco Garden further provides children with the opportunity to take part in hands-on learning experiences in an outdoor environment.

The outdoor learning spaces also allow for children to continue to develop their skills across the curriculum. For example, measuring a magic potion in Maths, or using a book as a stimulus, children could work together to solve a problem, such as building a den big enough for a Gruffalo.

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English Language Development

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Early Years children at Britannica are all in different stages of their language development, and the school's personalized learning approach allows for children – at whatever stage of their English development – to access the curriculum and communicate with their peers and adults.

The dedicated and experienced staff are equipped in supporting children in developing their understanding of the English language and spoken English; each class in Early Years has at least one Mandarin speaking adult to support the children in translation if necessary. 

Through imaginative play, games and stories, children naturally develop listening, attention, understanding and speaking skills.

Children at Britannica are given opportunities to express themselves freely and develop narratives and explanations by connecting ideas; they have wonderfully resourced and purposefully created Art, Music and Drama rooms for Early Years in which they can develop these skills.

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Nurturing a Love of Reading

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Britannica also has a dedicated Early Years reading room to support children in acquiring and enhancing their English skills, knowledge of vocabulary and promoting a love of reading. 

During Reception, children further develop their Phonics through opportunities to practice, apply and master their reading and writing skills through role-play and class activities in preparation for their move into the Primary Phase.

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Mandarin Language Development

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It's not all about English, of course. As well as the dedicated Mandarin speaking adult in each Early Years class at all times, children from Pre-Nursery, Nursery and Reception have a standalone specialist Mandarin lesson each day. That's five Mandarin lessons a week from the age of two.

Location, Location, Location

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Finally – and this can be a big factor when deciding on a school for Early Years – Britannica is located on Gubei Lu, close to the downtown area, making it easily accessible, with bus routes and short journey times for students. 

Because who wants their young kids spending a couple of hours a day stuck on a bus?

Britannica International School Shanghai, 1988 Gubei Lu, by Wuzhong Lu 古北路1988号, 近吴中路

Arrange a Tour

Don't just take our word on all of the above – go and take a look for yourself. Meet up with their super friendly admissions team, check out the awesome facilities on offer, and get a feel for the kind and caring Britannica community.

To arrange a bespoke tour of Britannica International School Shanghai click here or scan the QR below:

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[All images courtesy of Britannica International School Shanghai]

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