Wetherby Pembridge Minors, Holland Park Head Jemima Jones and Early Years Education Director Marianne Valentine on the right time to start school and importance of early years education

A recurring question, and indeed fear, among many parents of young children is: ‘will my child be ready for school?’A clear answer is quickly available because global research demonstrates that continuous participation in high quality early childhood education impacts directly on academic outcomes. Ofsted’s recent publication demonstrates this and research from Oxford University, OECD and Harvard, among others, shows the correlation between high quality early childhood programmes and later academic success. What is important here is the phrase ‘high quality’. All early learning contexts are not the same and choosing the right setting is of key importance when it comes to ‘school readiness’.

At Wetherby Pembridge Minors Holland Park Early Learning School, we go deeper into that original question, and ask ourselves, is our school ready for the child? We work closely in partnership with families to understand each child and their needs long before they take their first steps through our doors. We are privileged to be able to rely on both the outstanding teaching experience and expertise gathered over 60 years in our family of schools. We also draw on the innovation and professional development opportunities that being part of the Inspired global family of schools brings us.

Wetherby Pembridge Minors, Holland Park on when to start school
Wetherby Pembridge Minors works closely with parents to ensure a smooth transition to early years education, says Jemima Jones

We focus on offering a rich, early years educational experience. It is tailored carefully to the needs of your child at this stage, while preparing them rigorously for the future stages of their academic career. As most of our students continue their education within our family of prep schools, building strong academic foundations is central to our curriculum – evidence of consistent progress is regularly shared with our families.

As well as the foundational literacy skills that are explored and embedded, we place central importance on numeracy skills and building mathematical language, problem solving and creative thinking. Every child has a fundamental right to a rich, imaginative, and stimulating learning environment and this can be seen tangibly in our school. When designed and curated carefully, learning settings stimulate and extend children’s curiosity, cognition, skills and understanding – becoming the ‘Third Teacher’, to paraphrase Loris Malaguzzi.

“We work in partnership with families to understand each child and their needs long before they take their first steps through our doors”

The aesthetics of our school are elegant not only because we believe that children have a right to a beautiful space but also because we understand the direct impact this has on motivation, imagination, and deep learning. Our spaces are organised to promote, independence and collaboration between children as they make intelligent choices in their playful explorations. Opportunities to observe and reflect on their world, explore, and respond to it carefully are offered in the light tables and imaginative play areas.

Young children also have a right to a childhood rich in relationships. They thrive in a community where they can express themselves and build positive social, emotional and communication skills. We also recognise the crucial importance of children working collaboratively and learning, through each other, to build the problem solving and critical and imaginative thinking skills needed to thrive. That rich, imaginative, learning experience can be seen most tangibly in the children in our school each day. Should you choose to visit, you may catch a glimpse not only of happy, and stimulated children, but also of the potential entrepreneurs, scientists and leaders of tomorrow.

Wetherby Pembridge Minors, Holland Park wetherby-kensington.co.uk

Further reading: Young at heart – the reinvented Young V&A