Early Childhood

Early Childhood engages young students and fosters their development as individuals with a strong emphasis on inquiry-based learning.

Southbank’s Early Childhood is part of our Primary Years Programme available at Southbank Kensington and Southbank Hampstead. The nursery welcomes children from 3 years 2 months old, and offers two groups:

Group 1

Early Childhood EC3: The programme is for children aged 3 years 2 months old – 4 years old. It is a half-day programme (8.40am – 12noon)

Group 2

Early Childhood EC4: The programme is for children aged 4 – 5 years old, and this is a full day programme (8.40am – 3.20pm)

Both programmes have a strong academic focus, aiming to prepare children for their further IB studies in an engaging, warm, and stimulating environment.

We have two EC groups on each of our primary campuses, and our class sizes are very small (14-17 students max.), to ensure every child receives the attention they deserve so that they can reach their full potential.


Early Childhood Curriculum

Within the Early Childhood curriculum children are taught the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) curriculum. The programme engages young students and fosters their development as individuals, both in the classroom and in the world outside, with a strong emphasis on inquiry-based learning. The programme is a broad, balanced curriculum that promotes self-esteem encourages curiosity and develops problem solving skills through sustained interactive play.

Southbank allows EC children to explore, investigate and play through freely chosen activities alongside adult-initiated activities. The classroom environment is set up so that the students may move freely around clearly defined areas both in and out of doors for reading, writing, art, construction, imaginative play, science and mathematics. Although much of the learning in EC takes place in the classroom, the students also use the outside area for structured learning and take regular trips out of school. EC children go to other areas for PE, library and music, which are taught by specialist teachers.

The overall focus is to encourage students 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

Southbank International School has received exemption from learning and development requirements as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) for children aged 3 and over. The EYFS safeguarding and welfare requirements still apply. Please view our page on student care and wellbeing for more details about safeguarding at Southbank.


Starting School

Early Childhood students attend school in the morning for 3 year olds and all day for 4 year olds.

Children enter into a school that really does have a warm, caring and family atmosphere. It is a learning oriented environment and all of our students are nurtured as individuals. Southbank has excellent, well-trained and qualified Early Childhood teachers and assistants, who maintain a focus on the individual development of each child. The children benefit from small classes and an excellent staff/student ratio. They attend specialist music and physical education lessons, taking advantage of being part of our bigger school. Both campuses also offer a healthy hot lunch on site for the 4 year olds who stay all day.

Early Childhood staff members meet families in advance of the child starting school to find out as much as possible about each student to ensure that the transition into school is made as happy and easy as possible. They are gently encouraged to become independent, so that they are able to develop socially and academically.