From the age of three children can attend (international) school. Knowing that this option exists, many parents face a choice:  Shall I send my child off to school at age three, or keep them in daycare or at home a bit longer? What are some considerations to keep in mind?

In this blog, we will share 6 reasons why it could be beneficial for your child to begin their educational journey at the British School in The Netherlands at this early age.

Of course, we realise that this is a very personal decision and all children are different. We know that children develop more rapidly during their first five years–the Foundation Years–than at any other time. However, each child develops at a different pace and you might think school is not an option yet. This blog will try and help you decide.

Child playing outdoor at the British International School playground

6  Reasons to choose (international) school over daycare

  1. Getting used to a school routine. Being in a school environment and following a regular routine from the age of three helps children get used to a school day. This will smooth the transition into the next phase of school life when school gets more serious.
  2. Learning through play. The British curriculum is specialised with each area of learning and development implemented through planned and purposeful play. These are led by teaching staff but often the children themselves initiate the activities. In this particular way of teaching, teaching staff respond to each child’s needs and interests with warm, positive interactions.
  3. Whole child development. As well as helping the child with its first steps towards reading, writing and maths, mental and social development are also important. In the early years or Foundation Stage, there is a strong emphasis on the development of the whole child. Together with staff, children explore resources and opportunities that allow them to lead their own learning. They will develop communication, language, physical, personal, social and emotional skills.
  4. Introducing Literacy and Mathematics. Children explore, enjoy, learn, practise and talk about numbers and shapes. This encourages them to understand and respond to the symbols that represent numbers and what this means in real contexts. Children are encouraged to link sounds and letters to begin to read and write. It is important that these early skills and concepts are well established as they form the foundations for all later learning.
  5. Learning Mindfulness. Mindfulness and wellbeing form a vital part of the curriculum at The British School in The Netherlands. Quiet, calm areas are provided where children can relax and practise ‘Hot Chocolate Breathing’. How does this work? When you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, pretend to hold a cup of hot chocolate. Breath in through your nose and blow out through your mouth as if you are trying to cool the chocolate. One of our staff members, Rhiannon Phillips-Bianco is the Mental Health and Wellbeing lead at Junior School Leidschenveen, and she writes extensively about how to promote wellbeing in our students, in school as well as at home.
  6. Exercise is also essential, with regular time spent in the outdoor learning areas. Part of the Junior school routine is a ‘daily K’, where children are encouraged to run/walk at least one kilometre a day. With the large playgrounds and outdoor areas, that is quite easy to do. The old saying, there is no bad weather, only bad clothing does apply here!

 

Class teacher with a Foundation stage child
There are some strong arguments that would suggest that starting school at an early age is beneficial to your child’s development.

Let the children play

At the heart of the Foundation Stage is play. Through play, the Foundation Curriculum at the British School ensures that every child develops the skills to become happy, healthy, independent and curious lifelong learners.

The Early Years Foundation Stage at the British School in the Netherlands (BSN) provides education for children aged three to five. A stimulating, secure and well-resourced learning environment meets the individual developmental needs of each child and lays essential foundations for future learning.  Teachers work in partnership with parents to assess children’s needs and support the next steps of learning.

We hope this has given you some idea of why starting school at the age of 3 might give your child a head start in their education.

When can my child start the Foundation Programme?

You can apply for a place for Foundation Stage any time. Your child can start school once they are three years old and toilet-trained.

The British School offers the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum at its Central Den Haag (Junior School Vlaskamp and Junior School Diamanthorst) and Leidschenveen (Junior School Leidschenveen) campuses. We have places available.

Contact our friendly admissions team by email.

Or call: + 31 70 315 4077