Gentle primary school(12 Posts)
I have a very sensitive child and am looking for a calm and gentle school that is more a continuation of nursery than real school with lots of free play, outdoor time, crafts, singing... Which primary in Cambridge comes closest to this? I am really not bothered about results and we are flexible location wise. Currently considering moving abroad as I am very worried about starting school at 4. We are not considering home schooling.
I would be very grateful for your advice and opinions. Thanks a lot!
Well unfortunately, no state schools are as you describe...they're not nursery...they're school and that's a different kettle of fish isn't it.
I do understand your concerns, it's very young to begin formal education but most children adjust perfectly well.
Reception classes in any school should have free play and outdoor time etc but as the pp said they're all still schools. Go and look at some so you get a feel for them. And I'm not sure moving abroad will help... It's a myth that children in this generic abroad place start school at 6 or 7.
Have a look at the new University of Cambridge Primary School. It's out towards Girton off Huntingdon Road but lots of people go there from citywide at the moment as its catchment area hasn't been built yet. Easy to get there by bike and public transport (the U bus stops right there, or close by is the Citi5 or Citi6 or the Madingley Rd Park and ride (or car if needs must).
From what I can gather (happy to be corrected) it kind of builds on the free flow element of the EYFS, children are free to come and go as they please indoor/outdoor. It has a huge outdoor play area with forest school elements.
I think it is a bit of an educational experiment (although they say it is not).
Might be worth a look if you are looking for something completely different.
Agree, 'abroad' may not have formal schooling until 6 or 7 but they still go to Kindergarten and have to abide by the constraints of a group setting. OP, you don't have to send your child to school until Year 1 if you don't want to, although I think you'd be doing them a disservice socially to withhold them. Unless of course you can find a nursery that's willing to keep them another year so they don't miss out on socialisation. But you do then have to take whichever year 1 place is offered for your child and it would be a good idea to cover some phonics/reading/numeracy so they don't arrive in year 1 with no idea. For what it's worth there is a lot of play in reception, but Year 1 is a big jump up in terms of what's expected, so I would think it's better to ease your DC in gently by doing reception.
Thanks, my husband is from Scandinavia and there they dont start school until 6 or 7 and it is still very play based. I know that there is a lot of difference in how reception class is managed depending on the school. Have heard of one school that already does a lot of formal tests in reception and sits children in year 1 according to results, something I definitely want to avoid but which some of my friends appreciate. I am not saying that one approach is better than the other. Good to hear that there are alternatives such as university primary and am very thankful for this sort of advice. I would prefer him to start school with everyone else at the same time but still in a setting that comes closest to nursery. Thanks a lot, I admit that I might be worrying too much.
my husband is from Scandinavia and there they dont start school until 6 or 7 and it is still very play based
But in reality most children below that age are already in educational settings. Drives me mad when people bandy around this idea that in other countries children are home with mummy til 7 without being subjected to the cruel torture that is a school setting .
I'd also be careful how much you believe about stories such as the one you quote op. Everyone has an agenda. Go see for yourself.
I never said that in Scandinavia children are with their mums until primary school. In fact, this is very uncommon, most children attend nursery from 1.5 years old. However, in my opinion it is still very different to start formal schooling at 4 or 6.
I am just asking for school recommendations and personal experience, there might be people in Cambridge who have felt the same when looking for a school. Thanks!
I think you may have an inaccurate idea of what starting formal education at 4 may actually look like in the UK. There's only so many times I can suggest you actually go and look for yourself though.
Have you been to any of the primary schools in Cambs, as Jaynebxl says, I don’t think any Reception class (or none I have seen) have a particularly formal approach to education, it’s just a gradual progression from nursery, still lots of learning from play but maybe more subject focused, lots of phonics songs and counting various objects I am anxcious about the start of Reception too but I think 6/7 would be delaying it for far too long. The majority of children do adjust to the setting they are in and are ready and willing to learn. I went to look at Morley Memorial Primary off Hills Road last week and it seemed a lovely, supportive and unintimidating place. If you wanted to go private, Sancton Wood are well known for their pastoral care and much smaller class sizes (15 per class). It depends what it is that worries you, the curriculum or the setting, im pretty sure all schools in Cambs will follow the same curriculum in terms of learning, it’s just what place you like best. Although as it’s all catchment based in anycase for state schools you would need to be living within the area by beginning of January 2018 when the applications close.
It's been a few years since mine were that age, but I know for a fact they did a lot of playing in reception, lots of outdoor exploring etc. They certainly didn't sit any tests. It was a lot like nursery at first, with a gradual introduction of some more formal learning but all in an accessible way. To be honest I think they struggle much more with year 1 when they suddenly had to sit down and do more of what they considered 'work'. Reception was rather lovely actually.
It's been a long time since my DC went there, but park Street primary school in the centre of Cambridge is tiny, like one big family, and they were quite 'hippy' and alternative back in the day, so might suit what you are looking for.
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