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At St Christopher’s, we pride ourselves on offering the best British education and believe that learning should be exciting, varied and stimulating in order to provide a world-class experience for our students.
The Infant School provides an exceptionally well-planned and extensively-resourced programme of learning which enables each child to make outstanding progress through a ‘continuous provision approach’. This approach is research-backed and renowned across the world as a leading way to ensure children achieve their best academically and holistically.
As a British International School, we teach the Early Years Foundation Stage in Nursery and Reception and the English National Curriculum in Year 1 and Year 2. This exceptional British education is enhanced by our St Christopher’s ‘Future Ready Curriculum’.
In Nursery, pupils learn through a nurturing, play-based, thematic approach, utilising a range of interesting and creative teaching methods. Warm, trusting relationships with highly qualified, caring adults are quickly established to support and promote each child’s confidence, compassion, creativity, curiosity, courage and commitment to learning.
Our Nursery is set up to be a stimulating and challenging environment, with open-ended natural resources, valuing exploration and play. The children have the freedom to investigate, discover, imagine, and to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding through high quality adult-led experiences and activities specifically set up to support swift progression in learning. The curriculum in our Nursery is based around the seven areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS):
Our language-rich environment promotes and develops our students’ early phonics and pre-reading skills. These skills are introduced to students through fun activities that help them ‘tune into’, remember and talk about sounds for example the sounds which make up the word ‘cat’ are ‘c-a-t’. Children need to ‘hear’ the individual sounds in order that they can blend them when spelling words in Reception and beyond. Early number concepts are developed through subitising (seeing 3 on a dice and immediately recognising the pattern that makes 3) and through counting.
In Nursery, children are taught numerical patterns, which builds a deep understanding of number and number relationships, developing pupils’ fluency, reasoning and problem-solving. Children will be taught to recognise numbers and to count items, for example, counting 5 toy dinosaurs on a table by touching 1 at a time and saying the number out loud.
You have two options regarding the length of your child's Nursery Day; finishing at 12:15 or 14:25. The focus of the Full Day afternoon sessions continues to be learning through fun and play! Staying for a Full Day enables your child to progress at a faster rate as they receive high quality teaching and learning for longer.
Children who stay for the Full Day will be in our Nursery learning environment (with our Nursery staff), who will support them as they explore different learning areas within the indoor and outdoor Nursery learning environments. Included in the cost of the Full Day is weekly sports and physical development coaching by our SPARTA staff, and this takes place during the afternoon session. These sessions will be led by the SPARTA coaches and all children attending the extended day will take part.
When the weather is hot, we will be based mainly inside but once the weather cools we will be exploring the Nursery playground area and beyond! The children will be able to access a range of activities, including arts, music, dance, role play and physical movement; all of which facilitate further learning from the Half Day sessions.
In Reception, we continue to build on the foundations created in Nursery. We nurture, challenge and develop each child through a stimulating, multi-sensory, continuous provision approach, delivered in a secure, caring and creative environment. Reception is the culmination of the Early Years and Foundation Stage programme which results in children reaching the Early Learning Goals and being ready to transition onto the English National Curriculum.
The formal teaching of reading begins in Reception using the highly structured Essential Letters and Sounds phonics programme. To support the sounds being taught the children will have access to a range of texts from the Oxford Reading Tree and other supplementary reading schemes to help them to apply and develop the skills they have learned. Parents and carers play an essential part in enabling their child to read fluently and confidently. The more practise a child has at reading, the more advanced they will become. We therefore ask parents and carers to read as much as possible with their children - our minimum requirement is 5 times a week, for 10 minutes each time.
Creative and critical thinking is encouraged by putting forward and developing the student's own ideas and strategies. And We encourage our children to learn actively and to concentrate and persevere when they encounter difficulties, thereby enjoying their achievements and endeavours. In Maths, your child will be encouraged to be curious and explore numbers. They will be playing number games, singing counting songs, making models and using the role-play area, as well as being introduced to the ideas of addition and subtraction. The children will be encouraged to use familiar objects to help them learn to solve fun problems and to understand how numbers are used in everyday life.
As a British International School, we teach the English National Curriculum in Years 1 to 9. Our teaching is challenging and differentiated to ensure all students are engaged and make excellent progress in learning, yet also have fun. Research proves that children learn best when they are happy and feel safe - at St Chris everything we do is research-backed to ensure our approach is world-class, has maximum impact and is always at the forefront of innovation. Our learners enjoy a sense of personal achievement, which is celebrated by all.
Year 1 provides a well-planned and resourced curriculum which takes each child’s learning forward through a continuous provision approach. We regard the acquisition of the core skills of reading, writing and maths essential and plan the teaching programme carefully for continuity and progression. Our children continue to follow the ELS (Essential Letters and Sounds) phonics programme and this supports their reading. Children read regularly at school with the teacher, the teaching assistant and a range of other volunteers. They are also encouraged to read regularly at home and record the details in their reading journals.
Children are encouraged to develop their written skills through a range of activities. They focus on letter formation, developing sentence structure and the spacing of words. A practical approach to maths is encouraged and the children use a range of manipulatives to give them a solid understanding of number and place value. In year 1 the children are taught by specialist teachers in PE (physical education) and music. The Arabic teaching programme also formally begins in Year 1 and the children begin learning the Arabic language in line with the Ministry of Education's curriculum. The level and number of lessons that the children receive will be based on their ability and nationality.
In Year 2, our curriculum takes the best elements of traditional teaching but is not restricted by it and we build on the thirst and enthusiasm for learning fostered in the earlier Infant School years. We start our Year 2 journey through a continuous provision approach in order to make the transition from Year 1 to Year 2 a seamless one. Technology and insightful, cross-curricular planning guarantees an imaginative and innovative approach to teaching and learning in all subject areas.
As the oldest pupils in the Infant School, our Year 2 pupils have special privileges and responsibilities. Over the year, four pupils from each of our Year 2 classes are elected to the Infant School Student Council. They have the opportunity to share thoughts and suggestions from the Infant children and are involved in the decision making process around these ideas. This leadership opportunity involves students writing and giving a pitch to other students in order that they may be elected onto our Student Council. We believe in creating a plethora of opportunities to ensure all of our students engage in experiences designed to ensure they are independent learners and global citizens.
In Year 2 the children begin to move away from the CP (Continuous Provision) approach to teaching and learning so that they are prepared for transition into the Junior School. The children still read regularly with staff members and volunteers but those who are ready are also encouraged to begin reading independently. Number work still has a practical focus and the children are encouraged to apply their skills and knowledge to tackle problem solving activities. The children begin to write in greater depth and are made more aware of more complex rules associated with spelling and grammar.
Specialist lessons in Arabic, music and PE continue in Year 2. The children also begin the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programme during this academic year and are required to bring a device (a chrome book) to school to support and enrich their learning.
Our Early Years Arabic programme sessions are engaging and interactive with lots of songs and stories, introducing the children to simple vocabulary, including numbers, colours, body parts, clothes, food, etc. The children remain in their play-based environments, attending 2 sessions per week in class groups. Learning another language at a young age has many benefits for children and promotes healthy development of their listening, observation, problem solving and critical thinking skills.
In accordance with the Ministry of Education guidance, we provide an Arabic Language Programme for eligible children from Years 1 - 6, consisting of 4 sessions per week. Eligibility for this programme is dependent on your child’s nationality, as indicated on their CPR. To access the Arabic Language Programme, your child needs to be registered with a CPR from an Arabic First Language Country, as described by the Ministry. The content of this programme is prescribed by the Ministry of Education and focuses primarily on Arabic reading and writing skills.
Children who do not hold a CPR from an Arabic First Language Country, but who demonstrate proficiency in writing, reading and speaking Arabic via an assessment, can be given a place on this programme providing there are spaces available. Children who access this programme via an assessment may not automatically be able to participate in the Citizenship Programme, as this is CPR dependent.
From Year 2, all children with an Arabic First Language CPR will be enrolled on our Citizenship Programme and can go on to participate in the written Arabic Citizenship exams in Years 5 and 6.
Children who are not enrolled on the Arabic Language Programme receive two sessions of Arabic each week as part of the Enrichment programme, regardless of their CPR nationality. The Arabic Teachers will continually assess children within the Enrichment Programme to identify children who would benefit from joining the Arabic Language Programme, depending on capacity. During Enrichment time, when the children are not learning Arabic they consolidate their learning in other areas of the curriculum such as Art, Music and Sports.
In accordance with the Ministry of Education guidelines, we provide weekly Islamic Studies lessons for our students who register on school entry as Muslim. These lessons are delivered by staff members known to the children from our Arabic Teaching Team.
Please note that these sessions are mandatory for all our Muslim students.
The Nursery children receive one music lesson a week in their classroom, taught by one of our specialist music teachers. In Reception each class receives two lessons of music a week, taught in the Infant music room.
Our Music Curriculum is based on the Kodaly Philosophy of learning music through singing and playing games, and follows the Nursery and Reception curriculum of reinforcing learning through singing phonics songs and topic based songs to enhance the children's’ understanding of the world around them. Children learn to feel the beat, recognise pitch, experience dynamics, tempo and phrasing while singing simple 2 and 3 note songs.
Through music, the children build confidence and self esteem, develop language and communication skills, explore patterns and structure, learn to share and take turns, develop motor control and gain a sense of joy from making music with their peers. The highlight of the school year is the creation of a class music production, performed in front of an audience of parents and friends.
The children in Reception also have a singing assembly each week where they all come together to sing some of our class songs as one, which results in a wonderful big sound! We also experiment with vocal sounds and songs of different structures such as echo songs and call and response songs. There is usually lots of movement and lots of fun in our assemblies.
Reception children and their parents are also encouraged to join the Reception and Year 1 'Lahan Choir', which is led by Mr Haggerty, the Director of Music.
The children in Year 1 receive two 30 minute lessons of music a week and the children in Year 2 receive a one hour session each week. We believe that involvement in music provides a rich variety of opportunities for acquiring and developing a wide range of the musical, personal and social skills which our modern world needs. As in Early Years, the Music Curriculum is based on the Kodaly Philosophy of learning music through singing and playing games.
In Year 1, children begin to build on the musical concepts they were introduced to in Early Years. The focus is on feeling the beat, and recognising pitch and rhythm while singing simple 2 and 3 note songs which are incorporated into fun games. This ties in with the St Chris play-based learning approach where the children are very much active learners in the music room.
In Year 2 the learning begins to be formalised and the children are introduced to the Kodaly rhythm names, Solfege and the Curwen Hand Signs. Children have many opportunities to perform and compose music using a wide range of tuned and untuned percussion.
A highlight of the school year is the creation of a class music production, performed in front of an audience of family and friends.
The children in Year 1 and Year 2 also have weekly singing assemblies where they are exposed to echo songs, rounds and unison singing.
Year 1 children and their parents are also encouraged to join the Reception and Year 1 'Lahan Choir' which is led by Mr Haggerty, the Director of Music. Year 2 children can join the Year 2 'Lahan Choir', which often performs in the Year 2 weekly music assembly, as well as at many school events over the course of the year.
From Year 1, we also offer one-to-one instrumental services, where students can receive expert guidance and support from our experienced music teachers. These sessions are a great way to help young musicians develop their skills and confidence.
In the Early Years curriculum, physical activity is vital for the child's all-round development. Exploring through play will enhance their curiosity and enable them to make decisions about the world around them. By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors, we can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, coordination and agility. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies, social and emotional well-being.
Throughout the early years, children will have time to explore a variety of equipment, be introduced to simple gymnastics movements, develop their aiming through our target games unit, practise their sports day ball games, respond to our dance stimuli and develop their coordination.
By the end of the Early Years children will:
In Key Stage 1, children develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities. They will be encouraged to be physically active for sustained periods of time, supporting them in leading a healthy, active life. They will learn about their body and what happens during exercise. Children will engage in competitive sports and activities. They will think about tactics and strategies, share and develop their own ideas, and suggest ways of improving their understanding of the principles of play.
Throughout Key Stage 1, children will develop and enhance their gymnastics skills, creating movement sequences with increasing control and fluency. They will explore and refine their ball skills using a range of equipment and practise our sports day games demonstrating correct technique and form. Children will respond to a range of dance stimuli and create their own routines displaying coordination and confidence.
By the end of Key Stage 1 children will:
Swimming is an essential area of the curriculum, as well as being an extremely valuable and vital life skill, especially when living on an island with swimming pools being commonplace on compounds.
All children are expected to participate in their weekly swimming lessons. Swimming will help your child to develop their coordination, strength, stamina, and fitness levels, which will have a positive impact on other areas of their physical and cognitive development.
Students in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 swim all year round, once a week for 30 minutes, giving them more opportunity for progression and continuity as they learn to swim.
We also have our Learn to Swim programme and our Sharks Swimming Squad, which is a pathway of excellence. Our Swimming Squad achieves great success in Bahrain, the Middle East and beyond.