GEMs Cambridge International School Foundation Stage Parent Handbook

Learn. Aspire. Be.
GEMs Cambridge International School
Foundation Stage Parent Handbook
Our Mission Statement
GEMS Cambridge International School provides a world
class, outstanding education whilst ensuring individual and
collective excellence in learning, teaching and leadership.
Dear Parents
Welcome to the Foundation Stage at GEMs Cambridge International School, Abu
The Foundation Stage is a magical phase when children gain the essential building
blocks to their future learning. We aim to make our Foundation Stage outstanding,
ensuring that we meet every individual child’s needs. Our personalised Early Years
Foundation Stage programme ensures that children learn in the best way that suits
their learning style. Active learning is a key feature of the EYFS curriculum to ensure
that your child is given meaningful & practical learning experiences.
Our teachers are highly skilled within the EYFS and will be supported by a team of
Learning Support Assistants to ensure that your child’s needs are met both
emotionally and educationally.
It is a very precious time when your child starts school and our staff will be
immeadiately on hand to support with comprehensive settling in procedures. We
too want your child to be happy and settled as soon as possible at Cambridge
International School and we will do all we can to support you and your child in this
important transtion into school life.
Please feel that you can ask your class teacher any questions you may have at drop
off or pick up. If you are not able to come into school and your child will be
travelling on the bus, then please email your class teacher who will always respond
to you within 24 hours.
Your class teacher will put important notices up outside the classroom, write
individual comments in the student planner and a newsletter will be sent out from
the Foundation Stage every two weeks.
I look forward to meeting you and your child in September as we take our first steps
towards excellence.
Kindest regards,
Mrs Tracy Swinburne
Head of the Lower School
We empower lifelong learners for
their future.
We hope you and your child will enjoy your time with us. The purpose of this
booklet is to give you some useful information about our Foundation Stage before
we open in September. If this does not answer all of your questions, please do not
hesitate to speak to your child’s class teacher, the Foundation Stage Phase Leader,
Mrs Sarah Browning or the Head of the Lower School, Mrs Tracy Swinburne. We will
be having a ‘Welcome to the Foundation Stage’ session during the first week of
school which will also help to answer the many questions you will have.
We provide a high quality Early Years experience which will establish a firm
foundation on which to build future academic, social and emotional success. Each
child is valued as a unique individual, and teaching and learning activities are based
on the understanding that children develop at different rates.
We aim to:
 To provide an inclusive, welcoming and safe environment in which every
student is valued, cared for and supported
 To offer a broad and creative curriculum that recognizes the uniqueness of
every student and provides challenge and enjoyment through a personalised
learning approach
 To ensure that all students are able to realise their potential through high
quality learning experiences that promote and value all achievement and
raise self-esteem
 To promote a culture of respect, inclusion and equality whilst celebrating the
rich cultural diversity within our school, empowering all students to succeed
 To inform and encourage all students to adopt a healthy lifestyle by
promoting healthy eating, regular enjoyable exercise and physical and mental
 To develop an appreciation of our community, the world in which we live and
an awareness of our environment to encourage students to be responsible
citizens of the future
Foundation Stage staff
Your child will be allocated a Class Teacher who will build up a trusting relationship
with your child and help him/her to settle in. This Class Teacher (along with other
staff) will collect observations of your child throughout the week and then use that
information to plan extended learning experiences for the following week. Records
of these will be kept in your child’s Learning Pathway Book. Staff will be available to
speak to you at the beginning and end of each session, and will be interested to
hear about your child’s family life and anything that may be affecting your child that
day. There are observation labels available in the lobby for you to write down
anything significant or interesting that your child may have done at home. This will
help to give the Class Teacher a holistic view of your child.
Session Times:
Start of school day – 7.45am
School finishes – 11.50am
On arrival we encourage you to bring your child into his/her class and ensure that
he/she has been handed over to a staff member. If you have any important news
regarding your child, or if anyone other than yourself is collecting, please make sure
the Class teacher or Learning Support Assistant knows before you leave. The
Foundation Stage can be a very busy place between 7.30 -7.45 a.m. so we ask for
your patience if you wish to talk to a member of staff. Registration takes place at
8.00a.m. and if your child arrives after this time, you must sign him/her in at the
School Office.
It is important that you pick up your child on time - if you are late this may not only
upset your child but compromise our staff to child ratios which are regulated. Please
collect your child from their classroom.
Please let us know if someone different is collecting your child or if you are going
to be late. We will not give any child to an unknown adult unless they have
authorisation and a known password. We will give you a password form to
complete when your child starts to attend. If we do not know the person
collecting, and they do not have the password, we will have to telephone you
before allowing your child to leave with this person. *Please note we can only let
your child be taken home by an adult (18 yrs and over).
Please can you make sure your child’s clothes are clearly labelled. The school
uniform may be purchased from Cambridge High School, as per newsletter. You will
be informed which day your child will be taking part in P.E. We would like to remind
parents that wearing jewellery is not permitted for Health and Safety reasons. If
your child has pierced ears they should wear plain studs and must cover these with
tape or remove them on the days they have sports activities. Nail varnish, transfer
tattoos, hair dyes and gels and inappropriate hairstyles or lengths are not
permitted. Children must bring in a named bag containing a spare set of clothes in
case of accidents.
Healthy Lunch Boxes and Snacks
During the day, your child will be snacking. We appreciate that families are
busy but your child’s body will only perform as well as it is fuelled. We
encourage a healthy eating policy. When looking to pack your child’s snack
box with brain food, you can utilise the following websites to assist you with
As a school we are developing children’s awareness of their environment so
we ask families to restrict their purchasing of pre packaged and pre wrapped
foods. Instead we recommend that families purchase lunch boxes with spaces
to place fresh and healthy food prepared at home. Our target is no more than
1 piece of pre-packaged food per pupil per day in the snack boxes from home.
Food Restrictions
-Nuts (including peanut butter and nut bases muesli/snack bars) are not
allowed in school, as we have a number of students with severe allergies.
-Pork Products- As we are based in a Muslim country and have a number of
Muslim students and families, we do not permit pork products in our school
-Junk food- we do not permit chocolate, sweets, chips/crisps, fast food
(hamburgers, pizza, fried chicken), energy drinks (Powerade, Gatorade, etc.) or
fizzy drinks in school (Coke, Pepsi, Mirinda, 7Up, etc.) Bags and Bottles
All children will have a CIA schoolbag. Feel free to buy a special tag for your
child, which they can put on the outside of their bag to be able to easily
identify it. There will be individual bag cubbies in each classroom, which will
also make it easy for children to find their bags. There will be chilled and
room temperature filtered water onsite. We ask that all children bring their
own named drink bottle. Children are allowed their drink bottles in their class
so that they can stay hydrated in lessons.
Cookery Sessions
Your child may take part in food and cooking activities. Please advise us of any food
allergies that he/she may have.
If your child is unwell, the best place for him/her to be is at home as we are
obviously unable to give the same emotional support and care a poorly child
receives from its parent at such times. If your child becomes unwell at school, we
will notify you so that you can collect him/her as soon as possible. Please let us
know if you change your contact number or address. If your child is absent from
school please telephone the school to let us know.
If they are prescribed antibiotics, they should remain at home and return only once
they have been fully fit for a period of 24 hours. 48 hours must have elapsed before
your child returns to school following sickness and/or diarrhoea.
If your child is well enough to attend school they are considered well enough to
participate in outdoor play and P.E. If your child is asthmatic, it is vital that you
inform the staff in order that treatment can be administered if necessary. An
inhaler should be brought in, clearly labelled, and a ‘permission to administer
medication’ form must be completed in the School Office. The same procedure
should be followed if your child needs any other emergency medication i.e. Epi-pen.
Please ensure that we have 2 Epi-pens available.
First Aid/Medicines
Please let the school know of any medical conditions or medication relating to your
In accordance with advice from relevant professional bodies, school staff will not
administer medication except in cases of emergency. The School Administrator is
allowed to administer only prescribed medication. A permission form (available
from the office) must be completed by the child’s parent/guardian. This permission
form will be stored with the medication in the Medical Room (except in cases of Epipens and Inhalers) for safekeeping until your child requires the medication.
If your child has an accident during a school session, an accident report form will be
completed, which you will be asked to sign, and this will then be filed in the main
School Office. A member of FS staff will be able to speak to you about any accident
when you collect your child from the Foundation Stage.
We ask that family holidays are arranged as much as possible during school holidays
so that children do not miss out on their learning experiences in school. If you
intend to be absent during term time please complete a ‘Leave of absence’ form
which you can obtain from the School Office. The Head of the Lower School will
then decide, through consultation with the Principal on whether the leave can be
How Children Learn
Research has proved that children learn to make sense of the world around them
through play-based ‘hands-on’ multi-sensory activities, so we offer a continuous
provision of resources and essential child-led activities, alongside themed and adult
focussed activities both indoors and outdoors in natural surroundings. The school
staff record observations of your child throughout the week and plan learning
experiences for the following week to suit his/her individual needs and interests,
extending their learning. We implement the Early Years Foundation Stage
Framework, which sets guidelines for children’s learning from birth to 5 years
incorporating the following Little GEMS bespoke programmes:
Stretch and Learn
World Languages
Mini Maestros
Eco Adventurers
Mini Masters
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
The EYFS is made up of seven areas of Learning and Development. There are three
Prime Areas and four Specific Areas. The four themes of the EYFS underpin all the
guidance. These are A Unique Child + Positive Relationships + Enabling
Environments = Learning and Development.
The Prime Areas of Learning and Development are:
Personal, Social, and Emotional Development:
Making relationships, Self-confidence and self-Awareness, Managing feelings and
Physical Development:
Moving and handling, Health and self-care
Communication and Language:
Listening and attention, Understanding, Speaking
The Specific Areas of Learning and Development are:
Reading, Writing
Numbers, Shape, space and measure
Understanding the World
People and communities, the world and Technology
Expressive Arts and Design
Exploring and using media and materials, being imaginative
The seven areas of Learning and Development together make up the skills,
knowledge, and experiences appropriate for children up to 5 years (the end of FS2)
as they grow, learn and develop. Although these are presented as separate areas, it
is important to remember that for children all areas link within their learning
Assessment is ongoing in all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Your child’s
Class Teacher is responsible for updating their records. Observations of your child,
weekly planning, samples of art work, mark-making and photos are collected in
their Learning Pathway books. You are welcome to look at these folders when you
wish, although we require them to be in the school during the day.
There are opportunities for discussing your child’s progress at a parents’ meetings
but if you have any concerns please talk to your child’s Class Teacher. You will have
an opportunity on a daily basis to speak to the class teacher.
Your child will develop their pre-reading skills through the continuous provision
offered in accordance with the Early Years Foundation Stage and through adult
focused activities provided. We provide a language rich environment within which
adults encourage phonic awareness, this is reinforced by a scheme we use called
‘Big Cat Phonics’ through songs and actions. We will support your child with phonics
and reading and writing skills when our observations show that they are ready.
Please do not teach your child to write in capital letters, apart from the initial letter
of their name. We teach cursive script-please ask staff for a copy of the cursive
formation guide. Children may bring pre-reading books home to enjoy sharing with
you. Guidelines will accompany books home. Your child may also borrow books
from the library. Please make reading fun so that your child will be happy to learn.
Specialist Subjects:
During their time in EYFS the children will take part in some subjects taught by
specialist teachers from the main school. These subjects include:
Music (Mini-Maestros)
The children will learn about rhythm, pitch and tone through singing and exploring
Arabic (World Languages)
These weekly sessions are held according to the specialist timetable in school and
are sessions based upon songs, actions and games.
We will also introduce the children to a variety of different cultures and languages
through our world languages programme and themed days.
P.E. is provided twice weekly according to the school time table and your child will
need to wear training shoes and school PE kits. We would like to remind parents
that wearing jewellery is not permitted during your child’s P.E. sessions for health
and safety reasons.
Visits and Visitors
We invite visitors into school when relevant to the children’s interests, have open
sessions and parent workshops during the course of the academic year and we also
arrange visits off-site. You will be informed about any outings beforehand. You will
be informed prior to the visit taking place of any additional cost, and asked to sign a
consent form agreeing to your child’s participation. Parents are often invited to join
the class on such visits, although a suitable person’s check procedure must be
undertaken by the parent. Please ask at the School Office for the relevant form or
for further details.
We operate a Positive Behaviour Policy and all children are expected to be polite
and well behaved. School staff act as positive role models and children are
encouraged to show care, consideration and respect for others. Positive behaviour
is praised by staff, and inappropriate behaviour will be dealt with calmly with the
expectation that children will reflect upon this after staff discuss the matter with
them. We encourage children to apologise if their behaviour has affected another
Letters and e-mails
The school website is updated regularly. In the first instance, please use email for
communication. Letters for your attention are placed in your child’s bag, or e-mails
are sent out to you. Please also read the newsletter and which is sent by e-mail
every week. This will contain relevant and useful information about what the
children have been doing during the week, events, diary dates and school news.
There is a Parents’ Notice board in the Foundation Stage entrance lobby which we
update with news, reminders, event dates and information. Each individual class
will also have a Parent Information board, please read these regularly.
Parents’ Evenings
Parent Consultations are held during the year so that you may discuss your child’s
progress with his/her Class Teacher. You will receive a written report covering all 7
areas of the EYFS three times a year also.
Complaints and Compliments
We very much hope that you will not have any reason to wish to complain, but we
understand that at times issues arise which cause concerns. The school will do all
that it can to resolve such situations, but should you wish to read a copy of the
Complaints and Compliments policy, it is available to view by asking at the School
We will aim to keep all the information contained within this Parent Handbook upto-date and correct. However, changes do occur during the course of the school
year, and in some cases, we rely upon others to notify us accordingly. We will do all
we can to keep you fully informed of any changes as soon as possible, but in any
eventuality, please do not hesitate to contact the School Office for information or
clarification of any issue. We hope that this handbook provides you with all the
information you require for when your child joins our school. My staff, or I will
always be very happy to help you with any questions or concerns you may have, so
please feel free to approach us at any time. We look forward to working with you
and your family.
General Information
Principal: Ms Rebecca Plaskitt
Head of the Lower School: Mrs Tracy Swinburne
Foundation Stage Phase Leader: Mrs Sarah Browning