Nurturing inquisitive minds: The importance of Early Years Education

Last Updated on : 6th October 2023

By Mrs Jo Parker, Head of DUCKS

The formative years of a child’s life are of paramount importance; by the age of three, their brain doubles in size, and by seven, it attains 90% of an adult’s cognitive capacity. It is during these early years that millions of connections between brain cells, known as synapses, are shaped by experiences and interactions.

Early Years education lays the foundation for a child’s academic journey, nurturing them as curious scientists and artists as they glean and construct information from their surroundings, interactions and experiences. This form of education facilitates an environment that offers support, communication and co-operation. It encourages negotiation and problem solving through providing open ended tasks and materials.

– 22 weekly Forest School hours for DUCKS children
– 75% of Year 2 children working at above the national average for Maths and English
– 35+ destination schools for Year 2 leavers

In this setting, teachers, or Early Years Practitioners (EYPs), serve not as the font of all knowledge, but as facilitators and supporters, scaffolding the learning experience. Armed with an insightful understanding of child development, our qualified practitioners recognise the pivotal role they play in the lives of the young learners.

At DUCKS we plan a curriculum and asses all our children across all areas of their development; social, emotional, physical, cognitive and intellectual, and communication and language.

Community and partnership with parents are essential aspects of Early Years education. Children come to early years settings with different ideas, values and perspectives and this diversity within our children is always encouraged. We recognise that strong positive relationships between home and education build trust and help establish good communication, forming safe and trusted connections for children and families.

Since 2016, DUCKS has integrated weekly Forest School sessions, providing an expansive canvas for exploration and discovery. Forest School uses the woods and forests and our orchard as a means to build independence and self-esteem in children. The opportunity to learn through nature sees children flourish in a range of skills, not least language and literacy. The natural environment gives children an opportunity to take measured risks, collaborate with peers, design their own challenges and problem-solve, not least how to make a bird feeder, build a den, dig a trench for a dragon and toast marshmallows on a camp fire.

Emotional wellbeing underpins all excellent education. If children feel safe, secure and calm, they are ready to learn. When conveyed by warm, responsive adults, wellbeing and emotional security creates an environment of opportunity for the children to share and discuss feelings and emotions, improving their self-efficacy and learning.

Our approach to learning prepares children for 7+ assessments, but more importantly, for life beyond DUCKS with the best possible motivation and a life-long love of learning.

Nestled within the leafy grounds of Dulwich College, DUCKS, the Infants’ school and Kindergarten, fondly referred to as the ‘jewel on the hill’, stands as a beacon of co-educational excellence. Here children aged 6 months to 7 years embark on a journey of early education within an environment of expansive outdoor spaces and attractive learning environments. Moreover, DUCKS children enjoy the rich array of facilities and resources available within the 70 acre Dulwich College campus.

Dulwich College Kindergarten and Infants’ School
87 College Road, SE21 7HH
Registrar: Mrs Emma Millett
Telephone: 020 8693 1538
For boys and girls from 6 months to 7 years

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