Nursery (Rising 3 - 4 Years)

Our Nursery is where the story begins. Nursery is housed in a 16th century building in which Cardinal Wolsey sketched the plans for his college with a garden in the shadow of Christ Church's imposing frontage.

The Nursery follows the Montessori philosophy and approach to learning combined with other more traditional methods of teaching. The underlying philosophy of the Montessori approach is to cultivate each child’s innate curiosity whilst developing concentration, coordination, independence and order.

Our experienced staff aim to cultivate a love of learning, independence and a sense of having a meaningful place in our community here at CCCS. The Headmaster reads to the Nursery children every week.

You can drop your boys and girls in Nursery any time from 8.15 am to 8.55 am.  There is also a Breakfast Club from 7.45 am to 8.15 am.

The morning session runs until 1.30 pm and the afternoon session until 3.00 pm.  At the end of the Nursery day, your child can go to After School Club until 5.30 pm.


Children may arrive at school from 8:15 am each day and enjoy child-initiated free play with their friends in our inviting and colourful Nursery environment. Parents’ support in helping their children to find their own coat hooks on arrival and allowing them to enter the classroom on their own is greatly appreciated. The transition from home to school needs to be a positive experience!

Our goal is to guide the children to independence and help them to feel comfortable in their environment so that they can explore the activities with interest and enjoyment. Once all the children have arrived and have become settled, we begin our structured day.  We follow a weekly timetable which not only gives children a routine and structure to each day but also helps prepare them for transition to Reception and a sense of belonging to the whole school environment.  A group story time combined with lots of music, singing and discussion gives children the chance to share news with their teachers and friends.  We play number games, open the ‘sharing’ and ‘sound’ bags and work on our ‘letter sound’ of the week.

Children have fresh fruit for morning snack along with milk or water.  We encourage them to serve themselves including pouring their own drinks (and clearing up any spills with a sponge - usually a popular activity!)

After snack we have teacher-led or adult-initiated activities when we spend time working with each child according to their interests or stage of development.  We plan many activities using Montessori materials.  We observe, assess and plan for each child in line with the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Lunch is eaten in the dining hall alongside all boys from the Pre-Prep department.  A hot lunch is served and staff sit and eat with their classes. Children all have a napkin, say a Grace of Thanks and wait for their friends before all eating together.  Healthy eating and table manners are a primary focus during this time and it is quite a formal occasion.

After lunch we spend time in our Nursery garden. During the warmer months we have free flow to the outside environment throughout the day.  As well as a large sandpit and climbing structure, there are bicycles, stilts, hoops, water tray, planks and crates, which offer lots of opportunities for the children to manage their own risks and develop strong motor skills.

After outside play, those children who do not stay for the afternoon go home at 1.30 pm. The children who are staying all day enjoy afternoon ‘Clubs’. These are teacher-led activities whilst still offering plenty of opportunities for individual interpretation. The clubs include: Le Petit Club Francais, an introduction to learning French; Science Club; Continents Club (including looking at different cultures and religious celebrations); Cookery Club; Outings to museums, the public library or Cathedral for example.

Each week the children have a formal music lesson with the Head of Pre-Prep, Miss Farmer and a story time with Mr Murray,  the Headmaster.  In addition,  Yoga and Soccer classes are timetabled weekly.  We have large playing fields and a wonderful Woodland School where we take the children and enjoy learning in the outdoor environment.

Each child in the Nursery has a special CCCS school bag and a home/school link book.  We ask that they bring them each day so that they have a ‘special place’ to put their finished work.  The link book is an ideal way to keep the lines of communication open between home and school and whilst parents are welcome to speak to a member of staff at any time, it is not always possible to talk first thing in the mornings.  A simple note in the book telling staff if a child has not eaten breakfast or did not sleep well can be useful.  Staff are always available to answer any questions or concerns that parents may have at a mutually convenient time. We hold parent/teacher meetings twice yearly when parents are invited in to discuss their child’s development with their Key Worker.  We also invite parents to join us for Cathedral Assemblies and the many concerts and performances held throughout the year. Nursery children participate in several of these but we warmly invite our families to all School events.  These are wonderful opportunities to see many aspects of the drama, art and music departments that the Nursery children will enjoy as they progress through the School.