Life in Early Years (3-5 Years) - Ratcliffe College

Life in Early Years (3-5 Years)

Our Early Years provision is a stimulating child-centred environment, where your child has the opportunity to flourish within a warm, welcoming, caring and secure environment.  Staff work hard to build trusting relationships with all children and strive to ensure that every child’s day is a happy one.

We are housed in our own Early Years building within the picturesque grounds of Ratcliffe College.  The youngest children are very much part of the whole School and benefit from the outstanding facilities of the Preparatory School and wider College campus.

Our loving and supportive ethos enable our children to flourish in all areas and develop a lifelong love of learning.

Mrs Rachel Ravat ◆ Head of EYFS

Small class sizes

We provide a broad and balanced Early Years’ curriculum that values all the children’s past experiences and then builds upon them.  The children are divided into age appropriate teaching groups called Cygnets (aged 3-4) and Swans (aged 4-5); this enables individual needs to be met and ensures progression and continuity within the Early Years.  Specialist teachers visit the Nursery each week for our Music, PE and French lessons.  The Swans join Years 1 and 2 for weekly assemblies, and many themed days and visits during the school year, to ease their transition into Year 1.

Learning at this stage is very much hands-on, and children are encouraged to muck in: building, making, and exploring. (The Good Schools Guide, 2024).

The Day

  • Morning sessions: run from 8am – 11:30am (excluding lunch) or 8am – 1pm (including lunch).
  • Afternoon sessions: run from 11:30am – 3.30pm (including lunch) or 1pm – 3.30pm (excluding lunch).

Children may arrive from 8am onwards and we have an after school care facility running until 6pm.

In preparation for full time education in Swans, we recommend that Cygnet 2 children are in for a minimum of five sessions per week in the Summer term.