Our Early Childhood Programme (3 to 5 years)

As part of our IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), we offer our Early Childhood curriculum. Through inquiry-based learning and play, it aims to engage and stimulate young students and nurture their academic, personal and social development.

Specifically, the overall goals of our Early Childhood Programme are to encourage children to:

  • make choices and decisions
  • use materials in flexible and imaginative ways
  • initiate inquiry and ask questions
  • work collaboratively with others
  • sustain their interests and extend their knowledge
  • develop understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Early Years Foundation Stage

The UK government’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children in England from birth to 5 years old.

Because of the high quality of our Early Childhood programme, we have received exemption from the learning and development requirements of the EYFS for children aged 3 and over.

The EYFS safeguarding and welfare requirements still apply. Please view the section on student care and wellbeing on our About Us page for more details about safeguarding at Southbank.

Some questions you may have

The Early Childhood programme is available at our Kensington campus in Notting Hill and at our Hampstead campus.

Our school day starts with registration at 8.40 and finishes for most of our three-year-olds (EC3) at 12.00, while our more robust three, four and five-year-olds continue until 15.00 (EC4).

During the day, students have a morning break and time for a snack, as well as a break before or after lunch. Weather permitting, these breaks take place outside.

We encourage our Early Childhood students to explore, investigate and play through activities chosen by them and activities initiated by an adult.

To support learning through play, our classroom environments are set up so students can move freely around clearly defined areas for reading, writing, art, construction, imaginative play, science and mathematics. These are situated both indoors and outdoors.

Our EC children also visit other areas of the Kensington or Hampstead campus for PE, library and music lessons, which are taught by specialist teachers. And we regularly organise trips out of school that make the most of what London has to offer young minds.

EC students have access to a huge choice of resources. These include alphabet charts, craft materials and paints, books, educational board games, construction materials such as Lego and wooden blocks, iPads with age-appropriate apps, water and sand for experiments and free play, and a home corner which changes regularly.

In addition, our Kensington and Hampstead campuses both feature large gardens with climbing frames, sandpits and a wide range of toys and equipment for children to enjoy.

The size of our EC classes is typically 14 to 17 students. This guarantees an excellent staff-to-student ratio, ensuring every child receives the attention they need to reach their full potential.

Our Kensington and Hampstead campuses both have fully qualified and experienced Early Childhood teachers and assistants. Because of our small class sizes, they can focus on the academic and social development of each child and support them appropriately.

Teachers also meet families in advance of a student starting Southbank to find out as much as possible about a child and make their transition into our school a happy and smooth experience.

Our Kensington and Hampstead campuses offer a healthy hot lunch on-site for students who stay all day.

Visit our Admissions section for comprehensive information about applying for a place at Southbank. You can also contact our Admissions team on admissions@southbank.org or +44 (0)20 7243 3803 if you have any questions.

Southbank Kensington
+44 (0)20 7229 8230
Southbank Hampstead
+44 (0)20 7431 1200
Southbank Westminster
+44 (0)20 7436 9699