The Bermuda High School is to introduce a new Early Years Programme to begin in September 2016 for girls aged 4.
The programme is to include themes, creativity and play, based on the Early Years International Primary Curriculum. It will follow the school academic calendar, from 8.30am to 3pm, with additional hours for after-school care and themed camps during school vacations.
“We are very excited about this new opportunity to meet the needs of our BHS families,” Tina Harris, the primary head, said. “Given that BHS is the only establishment offering single-sex education to girls on the Island, extending our philosophy to our Early Years Programme was a natural decision.
“The BHS Early Years Programme will provide essential learning and social skills and creative exploration opportunities to ensure a smooth transition into primary school, as well as a caring, safe environment.”
The ratio of adults to children will be 1:10 and teachers will be qualified to deliver the Early Years curriculum.
While the EYP will have its own building, modified for younger children and set apart from the main school, it will be part of the primary department.
A maximum of 30 children will be accepted, housed on the BHS campus in a separate building with its own dedicated play area and equipment.
Curling House, neighbouring the primary playground, will be renovated and repurposed for the Early Years Programme.
Linda Parker, the school head, said: “For quite some time, we have been approached by parents looking for options for their preschool girls.
“We are responding to market demand by launching the EYP. Our director of admissions and inclusion, Kurte Loescher [a former head of a local nursery and preschool] has reached out to a number of preschools in the community. She will work in partnership with the leaders of these preschools, both to share how we can contribute to the preparation for successful entry into Primary 1, and to ensure that we attract a diverse cohort of children joining BHS.”
Ms Parker added: “There will be no obligation to enrol girls in the BHS Early Years Programme in order to apply for entry into Primary 1.”
Mariette Savoie, the chairwoman of the board of trustees, said: “The decision to start an Early Years Programme was made by the board of trustees after thoughtful deliberation and careful review of the preparation work completed by the school’s leadership team.
“We are confident that the young children joining us will receive the high-quality, nurturing experience that characterises the BHS learning environment.”
The cost of the programme is said to be in line with other private establishments.