We always remember our first school experience. Head teacher, Leah Noonan, who has more than 35 years experience says, “Enriching the lives of young children is heart work. Truly, we teach each other, and every day presents new possibilities.”

The first thing that you might notice about Pre Primary at Shambhala School is the classroom. Imagine a place free from clutter, filled with natural light and beautiful materials for children to explore. This is a place where aesthetic development is valued and the choices in the environment nurture young souls.

The daily routine is constant and works in harmony with seasonal rhythms. Stories, songs and verses and activities enrich the experience of the seasons.

Circle time is a focal point of the morning when children are encouraged to participate in a rich language experience. It is followed by story time, the magical moment when the teacher sits in a rocking chair, lights a candle and tells a folk tale from memory. This window into other worlds not only develops language and imagination but also fosters the understanding that wisdom is common to all peoples and cultures.

Teachers honour children’s ideas and personalities. Children are given choices within firm, but friendly boundaries. Boundaries help children feel secure and when they feel safe, they are available for learning.

Children learn to identify feelings. They discover that it is normal and healthy to have negative feelings and begin to learn how to manage them.

Young children naturally see the world with a scientist’s eye: observation, questioning, experimenting and hypothesizing occur organically though the investigation and manipulation of materials. Curiosity is nurtured through thoughtful experiments and daily exploration in nature.

Early foundations of mathematics are successfully introduced at this age by building on children’s everyday activities. They are a natural component of play, whether it’s sequencing of beads or estimating how many steps to get around the playground.

At Shambhala School, outdoor play is an essential part of every child’s day. The core of open air play is expansive movement, challenging their gross motor skills. Outdoor play allows the children to participate and experience the seasons and all the gifts that they have to offer.