Escuela Lomas Altas accepts children into Nursery as of 1 year 8 months and, although the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme does not officially include this age group, it was thought beneficial for the children’s future to design a limited number of Units covering the most important themes. As the majority of pupils entering this class are Spanish-speaking (or not speaking at all), it has been found that approaching the English language in this way has been a very effective form of teaching them basic vocabulary that is of interest to them.
The main emphasis at this age is on social skills; sharing is encouraged and empathy toward their peers is highlighted. The children sit at tables to eat their snacks and are encouraged to put their lunchboxes away in an orderly fashion. The bathroom is miniature to enable them, once they are potty-trained, to wash their hands.
Attention is given to fine motor skills with a concentrated effort to ensure that whatever utensil is employed, whether it be crayon, pencil or paintbrush, that the correct grip be used thus avoiding the development of incorrect habits. We also encourage the children to try their hands at sorting, sequencing, puzzle-solving and threading. Stories are read to them every day and there are many opportunities for rhythm and singing, including twice-weekly Music classes.
The Nursery class has a large quantity of toys and apparatus for the tots to play with and, when outside in their recreative periods, they have the use of tricycles, pedal cars, slides and jungle gyms to encourage and develop their gross motor skills.