The BSN's three Junior Schools are home to children in Early Years/Foundation Stage (age 3-5) and Junior (age 6-10). These children are situated on three campuses in The Hague area.
Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)
This stage consists of three core subjects Mathematics, English and Science together with Computing and the foundation subjects of Geography, History, Design Technology, Art, Music and Physical Education. In addition to these subjects, we also teach Dutch from Year 1 which continues through all Key Stages.
Children in Key Stage 1 are taught through a 'topic approach'. During these first two years of Junior School life, students are encouraged to learn both practically and academically and all work is monitored to ensure that students are making the desired progress. We encourage children to take pride in their achievements and adopt an independent and self-reliant approach to school and particular attention is given to the social and emotional development of all children.
Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6)
Key Stage 2 is made up of the same core and foundation subjects covered in Key Stage 1. During Years 3 and 4 much of the work is ‘cross-curricular’, meaning that one theme is covered by several subjects. Topics are structured to allow children the freedom to explore new subjects in a stimulating way, encouraging a natural enthusiasm for more independent learning. In Year 3 the reading and spelling homework experienced in the previous year is supplemented with written work, which increases in Year 4.
Throughout Years 5 and 6 a greater degree of autonomy and independence is expected of the children, during which they are softly encouraged to accept new levels of responsibility and demonstrate leadership skills.
During the latter part of Key Stage 2, subject teaching becomes more defined especially in the core subjects of English, Maths, Science and Computing. As students enter Year 6 they are prepared for the subject-oriented approach of the Senior School and are expected to become more independent in planning and completing their studies. The level of homework increases to three half-hourly sessions per week, plus spelling and nightly reading. Dutch continues throughout Key Stage 2 and in Year 6 students receive lessons in Spanish, French and German with one language covered per term across the year. These lessons are taught by specialist language teachers from the Senior School who visit each Year 6 class once a week.
Moving up from Year 6 in Junior School to Year 7 in Senior School is a big step for both students and parents. All of the staff who work closely with the students appreciate the challenges they face in making the adjustment. The teachers in Year 6 help the students to develop the increased level of independence and organisational skills necessary.
The BSN has a transition team made up of key staff, involved in the transition process, from the four campuses. The team meets regularly throughout the school year to plan and review the transition process. A thorough programme of transition activities are planned to prepare the children for the move and curriculum progression is catered for through the meetings of various groups of staff.
This transition to Senior School can also be tough for parents too, who must adjust to a more structured, independent learning environment for the students. Thankfully, the Family Association Welcome Team recognises that you do not have to be new to the Netherlands to be new to Senior School and they help parents settle into this new routine with lots of good advice and support.