Our Philosophy and Vision

We are each unique and beautiful and together we are a masterpiece

Our philosophy refers to the set of beliefs, principles and values that inform and shape our commitment to providing our children with the best education possible. It is our belief that for children and adults to truly flourish and live life in all its fullness, we need to provide our young people with a learning environment, curriculum and supporting adults  that acknowledge our individual uniqueness and collective potential.  Our vision is rooted in values that include kindness, compassion, connection, belonging, hope, and aspiration, emphasising the power of fellowship in achieving greater heights together than we ever could alone. 

Kindness and compassion

Our vision is rooted in Luke’s gospel (13:18-21) which speaks of a tiny mustard seed growing into a tree symbolising Jesus’ offer of refuge and life in God’s Kingdom. We see our school as an extension of that tree symbolising a safe welcoming haven with room for everyone to grow in a way that suits them. 

This reflects our local context and a strong reputation for working with children with different needs and from diverse backgrounds and communities.

Connection and belonging

Through scripture Christians believe that we are each unique and beautiful because God created humankind in His image. 

We are all given the gift of learning regardless of need, class, race, gender, or disability and when we come together in fellowship, we teach each other things, inspire each other and recognise we can achieve much more working in harmony than as individuals operating in isolation. 

Hope and aspiration

Our  educational approach embraces and appreciates the distinctive contributions each person can offer, irrespective of their backgrounds or initial circumstances. 

This complements our Trust's and the Church of England's vision of creating a culture where flourishing together empowers wisdom, wonder and positive well-being so that we can live ‘life in all its fullness‘ (John 10:10).

Living the vision

Our vision has profound implications not only for our actions and attitudes towards others underpinned by selfless kindness, compassion, connection, belonging, hope and aspiration but also the valuable contribution each of us can play to create a masterpiece in God’s earthly kingdom. 

This means accepting each child as an individual regardless of their challenges and is a privilege to enable every child and every adult to contribute, flourish and recognise what we can achieve collectively in fellowship.

Character building

Character building is an important part of our curriculum. An all-round education means we value and recognise that each child is unique and strive to develop their character and not just their intellectual or academic abilities. 

Our curriculum, ethos and teaching approach encourages both academic achievement and personal development that enables our children to grow into literate, numerate individuals who have a deep understanding of the world around them so that they can flourish, thrive and make a positive difference in a dynamic and evolving world.

Teaching and learning

Fundamental to our teaching philosophy are the principles that underpin our approach. 

These principles include a carefully prepared learning environment, recruiting and training responsive respectful adults, learning collaboratively together, engaging in learning that is meaningful and fulfilling, a belief in the absorbent mind, carefully curated learning materials and a whole school attitude that values finding one's place in the world and developing the child's inner peace and depth of soul so that each individual can love, value and live life in all its fullness. 

The environment

We believe children learn best in an orderly environment that has been prepared to enable them to explore and do things for themselves. 

Our learning environment is organised and structured to promote a sense of order. It is never cluttered. Everything has its place and has earned its right to be placed in the classroom, making it easier for children to locate materials and engage in activities. 

This orderliness contributes to a sense of calm and security, allowing children to focus on their activities without unnecessary distractions. Low shelves display a variety of learning materials, neatly arranged,allowing children to choose their resources independently.

Children are taught to respect and care for their working environment. They learn to take pride in maintaining a tidy classroom, including their individual work spaces and personal belongings. This respect for the environment extends to adults who are equally expected to model respect for the environment.

Responsive adults

Our teachers and support staff are keen observers knowing when to intervene, when to offer direct instruction, when to scaffold or model learning, when to step back and watch learning unfold to get a better understanding of the child.

Adults ensure learning is well planned and sequenced  so that children acquire the knowledge in an orderly systematic way with ample opportunity to practise, apply and build on prior learning in a meaningful way.  They identify gaps in learning and provide appropriate learning opportunities by breaking learning down into small steps using practical concrete learning. 

This requires adults to be skilled guides, facilitators, directors and instructors who can establish, maintain and utilise the environment, supporting adults and resources to best effect.  

Respect for self and others

Our approach encourages children and adults to cultivate a strong sense of respect for self others and the environment. This includes greeting others, expressing gratitude, and resolving conflicts peacefully to create a foundation for respectful communication and positive relationships. Emphasis is placed on helping children understand and express their emotions, actively listening to others, and finding collaborative solutions.

A respectful adult is where an adult truly understands the child as young people. They build relations with each and every child and learn what makes each child special and unique. This requires empathy and seeing the world through the eyes of the child. 

The adult does not define children by their appearance, background or behaviour; nor do they invade a child’s personal space without being invited. Adults are more interested in the fact a person is able to dress themselves than making a judgement on what they are wearing. 

   The absorbent mind

The child is believed to have an absorbent mind capable of effortlessly absorbing information from their environment. 

For example, when talking about a flower found in the garden with a toddler, it is named as daisy, rose or sunflower because children have an enormous capacity to absorb the new words at this period in their life and facilitates proper linguistic development whilst laying a solid foundation for future learning.

By creating environments that inspire curiosity, exploration, and discovery, we can unlock the full potential of the absorbent mind and empower children to become lifelong learners and creative problem solvers.

    Learning materials

High quality carefully curated learning materials facilitate a concrete to abstract learning approach. The educational materials we use are thoughtfully selected to provide hands-on, tangible experiences, allowing learners to grasp abstract concepts through direct, sensory engagement. 

Many of the materials, especially in the early years, are designed with control of error built in, enabling children to self-correct rather than rely on adult feedback. 

This approach allows children to master essential skills through repetitive practice, fostering a methodical and ordered learning experience.

Self directed learning

Inherent in every child is an innate eagerness and drive to learn. From the moment they are born, children exhibit an inherent curiosity and enthusiasm to investigate, enquiry and experiment, without fear or judgement. Children are intrinsically motivated where the reward is the learning itself.  Our children are presented with carefully curated learning materials that encourage them to think, question and investigate. 

In history for example, children are presented with learning materials that encourage them to think like historians such as examining clues that enable them to come to a conclusion about what living in the past was like. 

Nurturing curiosity

Children are inherently born with a natural desire to learn and explore, driven by internal or intrinsic motivation. Their curiosity and trial-and-error approach are fuelled by an innate desire to learn without fear or judgement. 

Intrinsic motivation focuses on fostering a sense of pride in personal achievements as a reward, rather than relying on external rewards.

Children learn through play, discovery, repetition, direct instruction and a deep curiosity and respect for their own learning, other people and their environment.  

Outdoor learning

Only by being outside can children enjoy the light and shade of different times of day and seasons or observe the subtle changes that take place as one season passes into another. 

Big open outdoor spaces encourage children to open their posture using their arms like wings, swing or climb or simply roll around in safe outside spaces.

Our approach believes that everything  a young child encounters in their life is awe-inspiring and fills them with wonder.  When the whole world is still relatively brand-new, animals, plants, the environment, and real people provide more than enough inspiration for their young minds.

Forest School

Our outdoor area is designed to give children the opportunity to move, explore and develop gross motor skills in a way that is not possible in an indoor environment. 

When children move into the Reception Class, they engage in the Forest School Programme and continue with outdoor learning through practical life activities.

Forest School started in Scandinavia and has a developmental ethos shared by thousands of trained practitioners around the world, who are constantly developing their learning styles and skills to support new and imaginative learners .


We have created a Montessori environment to enhance our Early Years provision and to support children throughout the school who learn best using this approach. The Montessori classroom is referred to as the prepared environment. It is a meaningfully structured learning space where everything has a purpose and a place. Furniture is light and child-sized, learning materials are designed to fit in children’s hands, and everything is designed to be open and accessible.

We believe children learn best in an orderly environment that has been prepared to enable them to explore and work independently. Any observer to our setting is likely to be struck by the clean, ordered nature of the environment. The setting is a calm but busy environment where the children are involved in small group or individual activities.

There are several distinct areas within the classroom. These include a practical life, sensorial, language, mathematics and culture and form the basis of both the Montessori curriculum and the areas of development and learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage. 

Practical Life

Activities in the practical life are designed to develop children’s fine motor skills, coordination, concentration, independence, responsibility, work habits and care for self and the environment.

Activities include pouring, transferring, sorting, peeling, grating, sifting, sorting, serving, cleaning, polishing, sewing, lacing, beading, weaving, threading, chopping, cutting, repairing, dismantling, fixing using real life objects wherever possible.

Whilst practical life activities have value in themselves, they are also  indirect preparation for other areas of learning such as reading, writing and number. All these skills are then applied in the Home Corner and role play areas. 

Tasks that require transferring objects are completed left to right and develop left right eye tracking - an essential pre-skill for reading and writing. Likewise, activities using pegs, spoons and tweezers develop and strengthen children’s pincer grip providing indirect preparation for holding a pencil, mark making and later on, writing words.


The sensorial area focuses on activities that help children develop and refine their senses so that they can better learn and understand the world around them. 

Activities are designed to help children notice similarities, differences and detail and include sorting, ordering, sequencing and classifying according to shape, colour, size, sound, texture and form.   

Children are encouraged to touch different textures and, by using their sense of touch, heighten their perception and understanding of the world around them. Children also access sand and water play where they learn to explore, investigate and observe.

Auditory activities  are designed to heighten our children’s sense of sound perception and differentiating one sound from another. You'll see the sound cylinders in the Sensorial area for example. These activities are indirect preparation for reading as they assist children differentiating between the 44 phonemes or units of sound used in the English language.

Direct and indirect learning

Montessori was a great believer in indirect preparation. This means that many of the activities, whilst having an obvious or direct learning outcome, are also designed to indirectly lead to desired learning outcomes and preparation for future learning.


For example, the practical life activities of transferring materials from one container to another is not only directly teaching a fine motor skill such as using tweezers but it is also indirectly teaching children to focus, concentrate and track left to right and develop a pincer grip i.e. indirect preparation for both reading and writing.

Child centred learning

The Montessori classroom is neutral, open plan and has a distinct sense of order and harmony. Everything has a purpose and a place. Children are able to engage in their own learning, progress at their own pace and discover learning outcomes through repetition and practice. Learning in the Montessori environment is largely active, individually paced, often self correcting and tailored to the needs and interests of each individual child.

Montessori materials are specially designed and created to provide children with opportunities to discover key learning outcomes through repetition and practice. Each material teaches one skill at a time and is intentionally designed to support independent learning and problem-solving.

Practical learning

The Montessori approach always begins with practical or concrete examples to illuminate abstract concepts before gradually building to a deep and permanent understanding of what most adults often take for granted.


There is also a strong physical dimension that encourages dexterity, balance and appreciation of shapes, colours and sizes. It is also an environment free from tests, benchmarks and competitive pressures.

One of the key principles that underpin the Montessori environment is that children are not constrained to a schedule.  The Montessori approach recognises that the stronger the desire a child has to engage in an activity, the greater the results.  


Montessori believed the child has enormous capacity to absorb the new words and was a great believer in indirect preparation. By this we mean that she found clever ways in which children can learn how to do things without even realising that that is what they are doing. Many of the practical life and sensorial exercises were designed with this in mind. When the child is sensitive to learning, we begin to teach the phonetic sounds of the letters;  we then move on to word building and recognition, and then book reading. 

Montessori found that writing comes as part of the child’s natural desire to express his or her new knowledge and nearly always precedes reading. This is why we teach writing alongside reading using the moveable alphabet.


Children are introduced to number through counting games and nursery rhymes. Our sensorial materials refine the senses and develop cognitive skills such as thinking, judging, associating, and comparing. 

Montessori believed children were born with a ‘mathematical mind’. By this, she meant they soon develop an ability to match, pair, sort and classify information and organise it in a logical way. 

Children at our school explore and learn to identify shapes; pair sound cylinders, sort natural materials, such as shells, pebbles and conkers, according to size, colour, texture or weight. 

When they are ready and show interest, they are introduced to counting with the help of number rods and sandpaper numerals. 

Cultural Curriculum

The activities and materials on offer are responsive to children’s developmental curiosity and are designed to enrich their minds about our world, nature, art, and music.

Objects of interest provide opportunities to explore, investigate and discover new concepts and ideas. 

You’ll see, real life objects such as torches or magnets for example are provided to encourage children to inquire and learn about scientific concepts such as light and shadows and magnetism. 

Nature tables change throughout the year and teach children about the seasons, weather and change.

Reading and writing

Reading is explored phonetically when childrfen start our school. Children are taught to build and construct words with letters and sounds alongside reading and long before they have the fine motor skills  to write using a writing implement.

The Montessori approach recognises this and that is why you will see movable alphabets  and progressive phrase and sentence strips in our classrooms. 


When children are ready and show interest, they are introduced to counting with the help of number rods and sandpaper numerals. Additional materials allow the child to use their sense of touch to grasp mathematical concepts of quantity. They have weight to them, which helps small hands and muscles understand that 1 is less than 10 and 1000 is more than 100.

Learning together

In today's interconnected world, we recognise success often depends on one's ability to collaborate effectively with others. 

By engaging in collaborative learning experiences from a young age, children develop the skills and attitudes necessary for navigating diverse social and professional contexts in the future.

Applying for a school place

If you are looking for a school place, please arrange a visit and we will be delighted to show you around. We also accept mid-year applications for children wishing to join in other year groups.

Please call 01376 325116 to arrange a tour and visit our school Further inquiries can also be made by email to: