English Nursery and Pre-school
At Smiles Nursery School we take care of the first six years of childhood, undoubtedly the most precious time in every child´s life. We are aware of our responsibility, and not only we take an optimal care of each child in their first experience outside their home, but also provide them with the best possible grounds in their early years education.
We aim to create a welcoming, safe, caring and stimulating school environment in which children feel happy and ready to learn. Through play we foster a love of enquiry, nurturing creativity, independence and resilience, and helping them to do what they know best, use their natural curiosity to learn. There’s a big wide world to explore and enjoy. Children are great enthusiasts and for them life is one huge adventure.
Not only our children are given the skills to explore and develop in all areas of learning, but they also do it by means of total immersion in the English language, providing them with fluency, spontaneity and an accent which can only be acquired at a very early age.
The mission, values and ideals that underpin our curriculum are clearly set forth in the following eight principles:
Full English immersion
Our aim at Smiles is to create a classroom that will immerse our pupils in the English language in order for them to become bilingual. To achieve this, not only is our curriculum in English but our teachers are fluent bilingual speakers too. We believe that it is not just about teaching our students a few songs or specific vocabulary, but about giving them the tools to able to express themselves competently in English in the different areas of everyday life.
In an increasingly competitive job market, and in a more international and multicultural world, the ability to speak different languages has become an essential pillar to our children´s education. Indeed, it is within the early years that language learning can be consolidated more easily and retained for a lifetime.
Many studies and research demonstrate the huge benefits of bilingualism from early years, not only from a social, cultural and linguistic point of view but also in different aspects of the cognitive development. This is a key influence on the child’s long-term learning potential.
At Smiles we’ve designed our own innovative curriculum, having in the center of it the understanding that every child is unique with different interests and learning pace.
Through positive relationships with teachers and their peers, at Smiles we work in an interdisciplinary way, giving special attention to the development of emotional intelligence and critical thinking. As a result, our children are happy, independent and confident explorers and learners.
Working under the umbrella of the British curriculum “Early Years Foundation Stage”, we incorporate influences from internationally recognised educational methods and principles, such as Montessori, Emilia Reggio, Waldorf and Emmi Pickler. We also use successful programmes for specific subjects, such as Makaton for Communication and Language in the first stage of Early Years, or Numicon for Maths and RWI for Literacy in the second stage of Early Years.
The future of the Earth rests in the hands of our children, so it is very important for us to educate young children about green living and the environment.
Ecosystems and nature are fully integrated into our curriculum, including learning about seasons, plants, and animals. Our children learn to sort recyclables and we are always looking for creative ways to reuse recycled goods in classroom projects and lessons.
We offer an organic menu, which is healthy and balanced. We also use environmentally-safe resources and cleaning products in our premises.
Modern and innovative learning spaces
At Smiles we offer modern premises inspired by schools from Scandinavian education systems. We run away from the traditional enclosed classrooms, packed with tables and chairs or hermetic walls. Instead, we use open and polyvalent spaces where children can free-flow. This allows to work on interdisciplinary projects, as it offers flexibility and adaptability to a variety of learning objectives. It also provides the perfect space for different age groups to work together.
Most importantly, the space is inspired by nature. We have chosen natural materials and colours, not only for the furnishing, but also for the learning resources, to give the space a welcoming feel and a calming aesthetic.
Daily contact with nature
Strong sense of community
At Smiles we do daily trips to discover our environment and our neighbourhood. We are extremely fortunate to be located in an area surrounded by parks and children´s playgrounds, where our kids can be free to touch and feel the trees, play with sand, collect leaves, find insects, chase the birds, jump in puddles, and so much more.
We also actively participate from the culture and the daily life of our neighbourhood. With a strong sense of community, we love going out and enriching our kids with all the learning opportunities that a cosmopolitan and international neighbourhood such as Poblenou has to offer. We often visit the market, the library, the fire station, the dentist, and many other fantastic local activities. We even do sporadic visits to our loving elderly at the senior citizen residences.
Qualified and experienced teachers.
More personalised attention
At Smiles we understand that educators are the most important part of our project, and for that reason we ensure we have just the best people. Not only are our staff experienced and fully qualified, they are also bilingual English speakers.
For us each child is unique and has individual interests and needs, and therefore working with lower teacher to children ratios becomes essential. With this framework we are able to provide the necessary support to guarantee high quality, personalised teaching which allows our students to reach their full potential.
Our ratios are 1/4 in the babies’ room, 1/6 in the toddlers´ room, and 1/8 in the pre-schoolers´ room.
All our staff are trained in First Aid to ensure children are in safe hands and that they are all well prepared to act in case of an emergency. We do yearly refreshers on First Aid training for the whole team.
Balance between digital and traditional resources
We are aware that we are raising the children of the digital era, and we use different technologies in our activities. However, we are also very conscious about the negative impact that an over use of new technologies can have on children’s learning. Finding the right balance between digital and traditional resources is one of the most important milestones of today’s education, and we are seriously committed to use the benefits from both worlds in a responsible approach.
We want our children to enjoy getting dirty through messy play and paint, to explore different materials and textures. At Smiles we look to stimulate creative play through exposure to a variety of natural resources. Our favourite toy? A simple cardboard box!
Fluid communication with the families
At Smiles we value close cooperation with our parents. Our open door policy allows families direct access to the classrooms and daily communication with their child’s teachers. We also offer flexibility with regards to parents’ stays and organised activities at school, such as cooking or reading with the children.
On the top of the daily updates via the school diary, we also provide a “Digital Learning Journal” for each child, through which families receive photos and videos of the weekly activities, as well as feedback on the child’s individual progress.
We offer plenty of opportunities to discuss each child’s progress and development with their teachers, as well as talks and seminars for parents in specific areas of interest.