Early Years and Primary education at our school consist of two years of the Early Years cycle and five years of the Primary cycle. The Primary school has five language sections: English, Dutch, Spanish, French, and German. Our SWALS pupils (Students Without A Language Section) are placed in the language section of one of the official vehicular languages: English, German, French, or the host country language (Dutch). ESH also currently offers Italian, Greek, Slovenian, Polish, and Finnish mother tongue tuition.
At the ESH, the youngest and oldest pupils in the Early Years classes work together in a mixed group. In this way, the pupils learn from each other and with one another. There are also combined year group classes in the Spanish language section due to the lower number of pupils in a year group in the school.
Pupils take the majority of the subjects in their language section but encourage playing and learning together and facilitating the children in making friends with children from the other sections at a young age. Several lessons are organized in mixed language groups. In the Primary cycle, these mixed groups occur during PE, Music, Art, and European Hours lessons. In the Early Years, pupils have combined activities during Friendship Zone.
The basis for our school curriculum is the established curriculum of the European Schools. All curriculum documents can be on the official website of the European Schools (www.eursc.eu). All pupils in the English, French, German and Spanish language sections also receive lessons in Dutch as a foreign language. As there is no official curriculum for Dutch as a foreign language within the European Schools curriculum, we have developed a curriculum available below.
At ESH, our children and families are warmly welcomed into a specialized learning environment that supports the play and Learning of the Early Years children, before the children enter the Primary section of the school. It is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual community that enables the children to play and learn alongside different languages and cultures in a community spirit. The Early Years curriculum is play-based, aiming to facilitate learning the knowledge and skills and experiences required by the children for the formal curriculum that they will follow in the Primary cycle.
The Early Years classes are co-located so that the children can play and mingle together indoors and outdoors in the playground. Children lunch together in the canteen and classes join together for unique visitors or excursions to places of interest that support their Learning. There is also ‘Friendship Zone’ where the children focus and share Learning and play in mixed cultural groups.
Young children learn through experimentation, exploration, and play where subject areas are not separated. Early Learning is a fundamental part of life-long learning. Play is the highest form of research and the brain’s favorite way of Learning. All children are born as creative beings learning through their senses curious about the world and keen to experiment and discover new things. Play helps children socialize, wonder, think, feel, and make sense of the world around them. At ESH, holistic teaching and Learning occur through play with hands-on experiences, exciting, creative, and engaging learning environments, numerous materials and resources, and passionate Early Years Teachers and Teaching Assistants.
Besides the Early Years class teachers and teacher assistants, the children have specialist teachers for PE, Music, and Mother Tongue. The school has a Support Section with specialist expertise to support the Early Years children when necessary.
Parent support and involvement in the Early Years is valued. Each class has one or two Parent representatives who coordinate and support the class activities during the year. Parents and grandparents often offer support by visiting the class to help with cooking or reading activities, sharing individual items from home, or coming in to talk to the children about an interest, hobby, or job. These home and school links are valuable in supporting the social, emotional, and cognitive development of the children. The collaborative relationship between home and school is vital for the success of each child’s well-being and Learning. Young children benefit significantly from the close understanding, clear communication, and the respectful, supportive relationship between home and school.